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Title: Enhancing the Pipeline of High-Achieving, Low-Income College Applicants through Local College Access Programs
Authors: Hanamirian, Caroline
Advisors: Katz, Stan
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: Recent research has brought two critical but underserved populations of public school students to national attention: low-income students who are underprepared for college work and low-income students who are high-achievers but are “undermatched” in the college process. With financial resources and educational expertise, America’s universities are uniquely equipped to address these barriers to college access. This thesis sets out to examine how universities can work locally to address the national issue of enhancing the pipeline of high-achieving, low-income college applicants. I narrow my focus to two case studies in New Jersey: the Princeton University Preparatory Program and the Rutgers Future Scholars Camden. Findings: Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP) PUPP was founded in 2001 with the primary goal of expanding the pipeline of high-achieving, low-income students to selective colleges. Comparing the matriculation rates based upon school selectivity of PUPP alumni versus those rejected from the program, the differences are indeed staggering. Among PUPP alumni, 60% of students matriculated at a selective college whereas the vast majority of students who were rejected from the program matriculated at non-selective schools. In terms of academic achievement, PUPP students outperform their high school peers on the SAT. However, by measures of state standardized test scores, PUPP students were already outperforming their peers at the time of application. Further, participation in PUPP did not neutralize differentiations in achievement by high school. Positive student feedback indicates that PUPP has added value for its participants, but its small size limits its reach to a fortunate few. Findings: Rutgers Future Scholars Camden (RFS) Former Rutgers President Richard McCormick founded RFS in 2008 with the intention of increasing the number of qualified, local, urban youth who apply to and attend Rutgers. The program provides summer academic enrichment as well as a full scholarship to any student who gains admission to and attends Rutgers. Although RFS is still in its early stages of development, nearly all of the forty RFS Camden seniors applied to at least one campus of Rutgers University. Further, many students who may not have otherwise considered applying to a “selective” school made applications to Rutgers New Brunswick (considered “Highly Competitive”). While the program appears to be a strong pipeline for Camden youth into Rutgers, it did not drive the senior class to apply to other schools of comparable selectivity. Participation in RFS did not equalize student proficiency, as GPAs vary by high school. Students gave mixed feedback of the summer institute, which is currently under review. Conclusion Our nation’s leading universities overlook thousands of high-achieving, lowincome high school seniors. Universities seeking to launch outreach initiatives must focus upon strong public school ties, college counseling, an internal evaluation framework, and a plan for scalability. PUPP and RFS are works in progress but demonstrate that private and public institutions alike can at least begin by working locally to engage these students.
Extent: 132 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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