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Knowledge From the Field

From Access to Success: A Funder's Guide to Ensuring More Americans Earn Postsecondary Degrees

Published: July 2010

Publisher(s): Grantmakers for Education

Funder(s): Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, TG, USA Funds for Education Endowment, Inc.

View Report (6 pages; 337KB; PDF)

From Access to Success: A Funders Guide to Ensuring More Americans Earn Postsecondary Degrees

Area of focus: Preparation for College


This brief summarizes key themes from a May 2010 gathering of funders, researchers, higher education leaders, and Department of Education officials. Their goal was to identify barriers to college completion, examine ways to improve graduation rates, and identify the role grantmakers can play in promoting college success.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Financial aid to students from families earning over $100,000 a year is increasing four- to five-times faster than aid to students whose families earn under $20,000 a year

=Inadequate assessment tests and placement tools fail to provide institutions with accurate information about individual studentsí needs

=Grantmakers can help by investing in community- and school-based models targeting low-income and first-generation college students

=Funders can invest in financial education models designed to reach students early to aid their understanding of the costs and benefits of postsecondary education

=Proven methods to increase graduation rates include redesigning courses that many students drop and requiring attendance at labs, lectures, and tutoring sessions

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Low-income students; college preparation; minority students; first-generation students; college completion; graduation rates; postsecondary education

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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