A new study funded by the Nellie Mae Foundation and prepared by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) finds that low-income and minority students who receive preparation and support are better able to cope with the critical challenges to college success. The study, Getting Through College: Voices of Low-Income and Minority Students in New England (74 pages, PDF) identified four key areas that influence success in college: pre-college preparation; financial aid; involvement at and/or feeling connected to the institution in question; and attendance patterns. Among its key findings, the study found that, coming into their first year of college, fewer than half the low-income and minority students felt they were academically well prepared. And while only a quarter of the students surveyed had participated in pre-college prep programs, the majority of those who had found the experience to be helpful. Key recommendations of the study include increasing awareness and funding support of pre-college programs; increasing grant aid resources at the federal, state, and institutional levels to lower the dependence on loans; creating assurances for students about the availability and timing of student aid; and expanding work-study programs.
Single copies of the study are available free of charge at the IHEP Web site.