The article “Beyond Access” by the Pell institute discusses a significant issue of the 21st century. The main topic that the authors focus on is what struggles are faced by low-income, first-generation students in achieving progress in education. Moreover, the article also contains several strategies that can help these students to get through college despite all barriers. The most important term of this discussion is the phrase “low-income, first-generation students”; therefore, it is vital to determine its definition. Engle and Tinto use two criteria to identify such students, income under $25,000 and whether students’ parents have a bachelor’s degree (p. 8). These two factors have a big impact on the educational process.
The authors claim that low-income, first-generation students are at high risk of dropping out. According to them, “across all institution types, low-income, first-generation students were nearly four times more likely – 26 to 7 percent – to leave higher education after the first year than students who had neither of these risk factors” (Engle and Tinto, p. 11). The claim is supported by the statistics of the National Center for Education Statistics’ Beginning Postsecondary Study (Engle and Tinto, p. 11). As it reports, such students tend to leave college in the first year.
However, aside from it, Engle and Tinto also suggest recommendations on how educational facilities can help students to achieve success. Among others, recommendations include monitoring their progress, providing additional support, increasing their engagement. Other researchers have also conducted their own studies on a similar topic. For example, among other recommendations and strategies, Perna suggests “adapting programs to recognize the state, regional, and local context and characteristics of students served” (pl. 7). Such a proposal is justified by the fact that college-related decision does not exist in a vacuum. Therefore, to deliver educational opportunities equally, it is essential to recognize the context in which students are embedded. In conclusion, it would appear that action should be taken by policymakers to increase educational attainment.
- Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. “Moving beyond access: College success for low-income, first-generation students.” Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2008.
- Perna, Laura W. “Improving College Access and Completion for Low-income and First-Generation students: The Role of College Access and Success Programs.” University of Pennsylvania, 2015.