This is the last in a series of four blog posts from the National College Access Network (NCAN) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on September 15—17, 2014. These posts summarize findings from selected presentations at the NCAN Conference that provide concrete, actionable recommendations for practitioners on the following topics: increasing student awareness of “college match”; increasing STEM awareness and connecting with local businesses; structuring internships to prepare students for the workforce; and supporting first-generation college students.
First Time/First Generation College-Goers
This report addresses the challenges that face at-risk students who are the first in their family to attend college. The authors examine the constraints on college success for low-income, first-generation students and how colleges can promote success for this population. Recommendations include improving academic preparation for college, providing more financial support, and easing the transition to college through targeted on-campus programming.
This report discusses ways to effectively use technology to produce significant learning gains and increase engagement for at-risk students. The author examines different types of learning outcomes in technology-rich classroom environments and provides recommendations for how districts can identify which technologies are appropriate for the at-risk students they serve.
This brief summary on early college high schools contains an infographic which depicts the benefits of attending an early college high school as compared to a traditional high school. These benefits include higher graduation rates, rates of postsecondary enrollment, degree attainment, and money saved on postsecondary costs.
This study explores graduates of a baccalaureate-level program in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Engineering Technology, and aims to determine the experience of graduates after they completed their degrees and began work in the field for which they were trained. The authors surveyed on-campus and on-line graduates, and their low response rate resulted in a non-representative sample. The authors found that graduates felt the program was useful in their employment, and that they had positive perceptions of the faculty and curriculum.
This publication from the Institute of Education Sciences is a guide that is intended to assist schools and school districts develop practices to increase access to higher education. This publication contains specific steps on how to implement the recommendations that are targeted at school- and district-level administrators, teachers, counselors, and related education staff. The guide also indicates the level of research evidence demonstrating that each recommended practice is effective.
This report examined the economic benefits of attaining an Associates Degree. The authors analyzed data from 579 community colleges and data gathered by Payscale.com on the earning estimates of graduates from the community colleges in the study. The authors found Associates Degree completers had a median net gain during a 40-year work-life of more than $259,000 compared with that of a high school graduate in the state where the community college is located. However, there is a wide variation in the net gain among states.
This report details ACT's findings that the level of academic achievement students attain by the eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school. ACT examined data from 216,000 high school graduates who had taken all three programs that make up the longitudinal assessment component of ACT’s College Readiness System.
This paper examines the benefit of performance-based scholarships on short-term academic outcomes, longer-term academic outcomes, the variation of amount and duration on academic outcomes, and which students are most benefitted by scholarships. Using a random assignment research design, 4,921 students were assigned to either a program group, eligible to earn performance-based scholarships, or a control group. The authors found most students met the academic benchmarks for one or more semesters and increased the number of credits earned during the first year.
This paper investigates the economic benefits of obtaining an Associate Degree prior to transferring to a four-year college. Data on student credit accumulation, award receipt, and labor market returns for students enrolled in the North Carolina Community College System were all taken into consideration. The author found students who transfer to four-year colleges before obtaining an Associate Degree frequently do not graduate and thus leave school with no credential.