Monday, June 11, 2018

Improving College Access at Low-Income High Schools

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federal program designed to promote college access and success for students from low-income backgrounds. Although some literature has examined K–12 outcomes, little research has explored the extent to which GEAR UP achieves its intended postsecondary objectives.

This study used a difference-in-differences design with a sample of 17,605 students to explore the impact of GEAR UP Iowa on college enrollment and persistence.

The findings indicate that GEAR UP Iowa promotes the college enrollment of high school graduates by 3 to 4 percentage points, whereas it appears to have no effect on college persistence. Results are similar regardless of students’ socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sex, and K–12 special education status.

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