A new IHEP report released today identifies an area ripe for improvement in higher education: Many public universities are not proactively doing all they can to enroll low-income undergraduates. As a result, tens of thousands of young people are missing the first, critical step toward opportunity.
Serving Their Share, written by Mamie Voight, IHEP's director of policy research, and Colleen Campbell, senior policy analyst at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), tackles the access side of recent college attainment efforts. While focusing on improving success rates among low-income students is crucial, it is still true that only about half of low-income high school students even enroll in college - and those who do tend to concentrate in less selective colleges with fewer resources and lower graduation rates.
IHEP's analysis asserts that if more colleges with Pell enrollment deficits opened their doors to qualified, low-income students, far more low-income students would have the opportunity to earn the college credentials they need.
"Many of the colleges we highlight in our report prove that through strong leadership and deliberate recruitment, it is possible to increase the number of low-income students enrolled, and help them succeed on their paths to graduation," said Michelle Asha Cooper, IHEP's president.
The report identifies the 10 universities with the greatest potential to graduate more lower-income students receiving Pell grants and the 10 institutions that, despite similar challenges, are exceeding expectations.
A condensed version of Serving Their Share was released over the summer as a part of Washington Monthly magazine's annual College Guide, which ranks colleges and universities. This longer, more-in depth analysis delves deeper into the methodology and shares in greater detail just how the schools that are exceeding expectations are succeeding.
Read the report, Serving their Share, here.