Bridging the Gap Between Access and Success: a Study of the Impact of an Access and Success Program on Academic Outcomes of Low-income College Freshmen
Description: In response to the increasing cost of college, colleges and universities are leveraging financial aid and academic support services to implement access and success programs intended to help financially disadvantaged students afford and persist through a baccalaureate degree program. This research is a study of the efficacy of one such program at a large research university in the southwestern region of the United States. The study sample included low-income program participants in four cohorts of freshmen enrolling for the first time in college from fall 2007 (Cohort 1) to fall 2010 (Cohort 4) and a comparison group of almost 400 low-income freshmen who enrolled for the first time in college in fall 2006 (the year prior to program implementation) for a sample total of over 2150 students. Approximately 64% were female, 36 % were males, over 60% were African American and Hispanic, and over 75% were first generation college students. Logistic regression was used to measure probability and odds of their academic success and retention in the first year of college utilizing gender, ethnicity, parental degree attainment, and program participation as the independent variables. The logistic regression models illustrated that participation in the program netted a consistently positive and significant impact on academic success across all cohorts, increasing the odds ratio for academic success no less than three times in favor of program participants vis-à-vis the comparison group. The statistical models illustrated that the program netted a slight positive impact on the odds of retention, particularly for African American students. Therefore, the principle implication that might be drawn from this study is that by strategically leveraging financial aid and academic support services, access and success programs can facilitate higher rates of academic success and retention for financially disadvantaged college students.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Collins, Sarah R.