Access and Equity

Straight Talk on Student Loans, by Robert Shireman

Robert Shireman

The federal government provides student loans for college and graduate school in two ways: by guaranteeing bank loans, and by lending directly to students. In the guaranteed loan program, banks lend students money and profit from the interest payments while the government guarantees the loans against default and makes subsidy payments to the banks. In the direct loan system, the government provides low-interest loans directly to students, using borrower interest payments to help cover the costs of the program. There have been numerous audits and investigations of both the direct and...

The Community Colleges and the Path to the Baccalaureate, by Arthur M. Cohen

Arthur M. Cohen

This paper discusses several aspects of the community college role in providing access to further studies: ways of calculating transfer rates and estimates of the number of students making the transition, incentives for and inhibitors to student transfer as reflected in state policy and institutional practice, and a look to the future of transfer. It emphasizes California, which boasts by far the greatest community college and public university enrollment figures.

The Role of Advanced Placement and Honors Courses in College Admissions, by Saul Geiser and Veronica Santelices

Saul Geiser
Veronica Santelices

This study examines the role of Advanced Placement (AP) and other honors-level courses as a criterion for admission at a leading public university, the University of California, and finds that the number of AP and honors courses taken in high school bears little or no relationship to students’ later performance in college. AP is increasingly emphasized as a factor in admissions, particularly at selective colleges and universities. But while student performance on AP examinations is strongly related to college performance, merely taking AP or other honors-level courses in high school...

Inequality, Student Achievement, and College Admissions: A Remedy for Underrepresentation, by Roger E. Studley

Roger E. Studley

Large socioeconomic and ethnic disparities exist in college admissions. This paper demonstrates that by systematically accounting for the effect of socioeconomic circumstance on pre-college achievement, colleges can substantially reduce these disparities. A conceptual model distinguishes students' realized achievement from their underlying ability (inclusive of effort and motivation) and relates achievement differences to both ability and socioeconomic circumstance. The model shows that an admissions policy that systematically accounts for the relationship between circumstance and...

How California Determined Admissions Pools: Lower and Upper Division Student Targets and the California Master Plan for Higher Education, by John Aubrey Douglass

John Aubrey Douglass

The 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education made a number of recommendations in the area of admissions. Key was a proposed target of at least 60% of all undergraduate students being at the upper division level at the University of California and what became the California State University system. At the time, approximately 51 percent of the instruction at both UC and the State Colleges (CSU) were at the upper division. It was assumed that there was a high correlation between upper division instruction and the status of undergraduates as Juniors and Seniors. The plan,...