Colleges Must Reach Out To Younger Students
Careeer College Central summary:
The national agenda around higher education attainment has led to renewed focus on college readiness, access, and success. Citing the social and economic benefits of a postsecondary credential, many federal and state policymakers, educational policy and advocacy groups, and philanthropic organizations have urged shifts in policy and practice to expand college opportunity.
A large aspect of this invigorated discourse pertains to ensuring college access for members of groups that historically have been underserved, meaning they haven't received enough resources to make the transition to higher education smoothly. This emphasis on equity is appropriate and necessary, given the persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in college opportunities. And, although preparing students for college has largely been viewed as the responsibility of the K-12 educational system, higher education institutions also have a significant role to play in current efforts to increase college readiness among historically underserved students.
Overall college enrollment has increased for all students over the past several decades, but inequities have in some ways increased for African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, many Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These gaps are driven in large part by stratified patterns of college access. Low-income young people, first-generation college attendees, and many students from racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to enroll in community colleges, for-profit higher education institutions, and less-selective four-year institutions than their higher-income and white counterparts. Exacerbating the differences are the inequitable outcomes that these underserved students experience because of the postsecondary path they choose.
Redressing inequities in postsecondary access and success necessitates that all students have an equal opportunity to become "college ready." This is not the case currently, as evidenced by the fact that low-income and minority students are less likely to complete a college-preparatory curriculum during high school and less likely to enroll in four-year institutions after high school. They are also more likely to require remedial coursework after enrolling in college.
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