Social Connectedness

Equity in Access

Getting Everyone who is Ready Through their Degree

The persistently small proportion of successful postsecondary students from lower income families is a frightening indictment on society. Its persistence represents accumulation of heirlooms associated with lack of wealth and education, poor awareness of what it takes to avail of financial aid, feeling ‘outside’ of the college bound cohort, low expectations regarding the value of a degree, low expectations regarding one’s ability to succeed, and more. College enrollment is 23% lower for low-income students than high-income students. The data on the NJ Department of Education  clearly point at just how far we have left to go. High school graduation rates in New Jersey’s urban areas are as follows:

2012

2011

Camden

49.27

56.89

Jersey City

67.34

69.92

Newark

68.72

61.26

Paterson

66.39

64.03

Trenton

48.44

47.71

 

The American Youth Policy Forum  defines college readiness as:

“being prepared to success fully complete credit-bearing college coursework or industry certification without remediation, having the academic skills and self-motivation necessary to persist and progress in postsecondary education, and having identified career goals and the necessary steps to achieve them. Readiness also requires the developmental maturity to thrive in the increasingly independent worlds of postsecondary education and careers, the cultural knowledge to understand the expectations of the college environment and labor market, and the employer-desired skills to succeed in an innovation-based economy.”

 

New Jersey Campus Compact supports this description of college readiness. Being both ‘ready’ and ‘likely’ to succeed (based on evidence) necessitates that college access interventions and policies involve a menu of related measures, including rigorous academic assistance, proactive and supported college financial aid planning, social and emotional supports, and ALL for as long as it takes. This philosophy underpins the partners we endorse and support, and will inform the initiatives we will deliver throughout the state.

 

This section is divided into the following:

  1. Doing What it Takes: Taking Access to Scale With Say Yes Syracuse
  2. In Access Programs, Quality Mentoring is Positive for all Involved… especially when accompanied by funding
  3. A Sample of Access Programs, Their Focus, and the Outcomes

Doing What it Takes: Taking Access to Scale With Say Yes Syracuse

Say Yes Syracuse is a first of its kind coalition in the nation, promising FREE TUITION TO ALL admissions-eligible students.  The coalition was formed in order to deliver year-round, comprehensive supports to Syracuse City school students from K-12 through college. What compelled the multiple players to make this commitment? According to the Say Yes to Education Foundation report, Rebuilding Communities

“The program approaches educational improvement as a vehicle for transforming the city. By making the Syracuse public school more effective and more appealing, Say Yes assumes that homes will become more desirable, property taxes will rise, business and industry will be attracted to the city, and will ensue.”

 

The profound belief of the coalition is that every student can graduate a post-secondary institution of their choice when given the appropriate supports, resources, and opportunities. The coalition is made up of the following:

“Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, Say Yes Higher Education Compact partner colleges, Say Yes to Education, Inc., the Syracuse Teachers’ Association, the Syracuse Association of Administrators and Supervisors, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, the American Institutes for Research, and a diverse group of Syracuse area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations”.

 

View this video to see what Say Yes has done to transform Syracuse.

In Access Programs, Quality Mentoring is Positive for all Involved… Especially When Accompanied by Funding

For the most part, mentoring alone will not dramatically increase GPA and college-going. Disadvantage is inter-generational and multi-faceted and, as a result, alleviating disadvantage necessitates a community-wide, long term approach right across young people’s developmental phases. Even with all these personal supports, a full college scholarship often helps maintain the mentee’s commitment to the process.

Strategy for Success #1: Provide a financial incentive to go to college

Strategy for Success #1: Provide a financial incentive to go to college

  • Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) Program “introduces 200 first-generation, low-income and academically promising middle school students from school districts in our four Rutgers home communities of New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, and Camden to the promise and opportunities of a college education…read more
  • RFS boasts a 97% high school graduation rate and 96% of alumni go to college. .. FOR FREE if they go to Rutgers.

Strategy for Success #2: Sustained commitment from mentors may require remuneration

Strategy for Success #2: Sustained commitment from mentors may require remuneration

JZ-AM P involves: Paid and trained, COLLEGE-AGED MENTORS to commit for a 3-year cycle of a twice-a-week relationship with middle school students (6th-8th grades.), and results in an 85% graduation rate four years after the students complete the program.

Other Strategies

Other Strategies

A number of other reports on access and mentoring programs in the state of New Jersey, such as Leveling the Playing Field of Opportunity, or Opening Doors and Paving the Way  highlight the importance of other strategies for success, such as:

  • Face-to-face interviews are invaluable when assessing the degree of interest in academic success on the part of Program applicants
  • Parents and/or caregivers of pre-college program participants should be directly involved in the program and should be asked to discuss their child or adolescent’s progress with counselors regularly
  • Pre-college students should be made quite familiar with one or more higher educational centers. Students should participate in Saturday academies and summer residency or bridge programs
  • Mentors should form strong relationships with program participants and set high expectations with consequences (but with re-admittance policies once mistakes were corrected)
  • Use of mentors who are similar in sex, race and/or personality to program participants is an important tool in supporting economically disadvantaged, talented learners
  • Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) Preparation, repeated writing of admissions essays, assistance with completing college applications, and clarifying the many layers of financial aid paperwork … and the provision of college advisement for the participants’ family members
  • helping learners cope with emotional stress and providing social skills training
  • Developing public speaking skills, networking capabilities, self-advocacy, time management, conflict resolution, and financial management.

A Sample of Access Programs, Their Focus, and the Outcomes

For more descriptions and examples, see the National College Access Program Directory

Rutgers Future Scholars Program

Rutgers Future Scholars Program

Description: Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) Program “introduces 200 first-generation, low-income and academically promising middle school students from school districts in our four Rutgers home communities of New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, and Camden to the promise and opportunities of a college education…read more

 

According the Future Scholars site:

Over the course of five years of “pre-college” content, the Rutgers Future Scholars will participate in sequenced, active, focused, explicit workshops and events. Scholars on each campus attend mentoring, college readiness, enrichment, academic support, and team-building seminars throughout the academic year.  During the summer months, Scholars enroll in rigorous enrichment courses for minimally three weeks (some six) and earn early college credit on the campuses of Rutgers University.

 

Key Outcomes: RFS boasts a 97% high school graduation rate and 96% of alumni go to college. .. FOR FREE if they go to Rutgers.

 

Given its economic perspective, the report Leveling the Playing Field, described that:

The cost of supporting one Future Scholar through college graduation equals approximately $26,000 – $28,000 dollars. The cost of inaction, where youth slide along the well-worn path towards additional disadvantage and its attendant social ills, is exponentially greater. Approximately one hundred times greater to be exact, for preventing one young person from turning to a life of crime can save United States citizens 2.3 million dollars (http://www.highermpact.org/).”

Princeton Preparatory University Program

Princeton Preparatory University Program (PUPP)

Description: Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP) works with high-achieving, low-income high school students through several years of academic and cultural enrichment programs to succeed in achieving a degree at a prestigious institution. According the Princeton’s former President, Shirley Tilghman,

“PUPP is one of Princeton’s most inspired–and successful–educational initiatives.  It gives talented students of modest means the knowledge and confidence they need to fulfill their aspirations, it broadens the pool of applicants available to our nation’s finest colleges and universities, and, in time, it will strengthen the fabric of American society.”

 

Key Outcomes: According to the Opening Doors report from Princeton, (link to downloadable PUPP GSF pdf)

  • Over 90% of PUPP alumni have persisted in college, either completing a degree in 4-6 years or holding good standing in their college or university
  • Additionally, as of fall 2006, 70 percent of PUPP graduates are attending selective colleges and universities

Talent Search

Talent Search (NJIT / Seton Hall / Mercer County / Essex County)

In Success at Every Step, a 2009 report by the American Youth Policy Forum, the following program descriptions and outcomes were reported:

 

Description: Talent Search (TS) is one of the federal TRIO programs, and it offers college counseling, including guidance on college preparatory course selection, and assistance with the process of obtaining financial aid. TS projects are typically organized by a host college or university, and grantee institutions work with a target group of middle and high schools.

 

Key Outcome: Talent Search participants were more likely to have applied for federal financial aid and to have enrolled in a public college or university.

Upward Bound

Upward Bound (Seton Hall / Ramapo / Rutgers / Montclair / Camden County / Bloomfield / NJCU)

In Success at Every Step, a 2009 report by the American Youth Policy Forum,  the following program descriptions and outcomes were reported:

 

Description: Upward Bound (UB) is one of the federal TRIO programs. It provides high school students with college-preparatory academic and nonacademic enrichment courses, along with guidance in the college search and application process.

 

Key Outcome: Significant effect on high school credits initial academic expectations and those at greater levels of academic risk. UB increased participants’ likelihood of earning a postsecondary certificate or license from a vocational school. The length of UB participation and program completion were positively associated with increases in the likelihood of enrolling in a four-year institution and the likelihood of earning a bachelor’s degree. UB had positive impacts on postsecondary enrollment and completion rates for specific subgroups, such as students who initially had lower academic expectations and those that were not on track with college preparatory coursework in the 9th grade.

Gear UP

 Gear UP (Rowan)

In Success at Every Step, a 2009 report by the American Youth Policy Forum, the following program descriptions and outcomes were reported:

 

Description: GEAR UP provides federally-funded matching grants for services designed to enhance the college preparation of entire cohorts of low-income students along the pathway from middle school to the postsecondary transition. The unique service delivery model relies upon partnerships between local school districts, institutions of higher education, and at least two other organizations. The grants are made for six years, and the projects’ comprehensive, school-based services begin no later than the 7th grade. Program activities may include tutoring, mentoring, college counseling, and financial aid assistance.

 

Key Outcomes: GEAR UP improved middle school students’ and parents’ knowledge of the college admissions process, and increased parental involvement in education. GEAR UP students were more likely to take advanced science courses in the middle grades, and the program was associated with increases in the overall rate of enrollment in advanced courses for African American students.

Cumberland County College School Counts!

Cumberland County College School Counts!

Cumberland County College School Counts! program. Students must meet set criteria representing attendance and persistence for all four years while they attend an area high school. If at the end of their 4 years they have met the criteria they get their tuition to Cumberland fully paid.  The program is operated by the College Foundation and just reached the $1 million mark in scholarships. A presentation on School Counts can be downloaded here.

JZ-AMP

 

JZ-AMP

According to the JZ-AMP site, the following summarizes this impressive program housed at Yale and which has been supported by Campus Compact in Connecticut.

 

Description

  • Paid and trained, COLLEGE-AGED MENTORS commit for a 3-year cycle of a twice-a-week relationship with middle school students (6th-8th grades.)
  • Free, after-school, customized ACADEMIC TUTORING is the foundation of the mentor:mentee relationship.
  • LIFE-SKILLS COACHING and ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES are offered to balance and enhance the time spent together.
  • A TRIANGULAR (2:1) mentee: mentor relationship offers peer to peer benefits and accountability as well as cost-efficiency.
  • Student SELECTION is based on standardized testing results and 5th grade teacher assessment.  Participants begin the program below grade-level in both math and reading.

 

Key Outcome: In 2008, 85% of the first cohort of J-Z AMP participants graduate high school.

 

Resources

Resources

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