ERIC Identifier: ED435383
Publication Date: 1999-00-00
Author: Martin, Sherri Anna
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Higher Education Washington DC.| BBB32577 _ George Washington Univ. Washington
DC. Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Early Intervention Program and College Partnerships. ERIC
Early intervention partnerships with colleges provide a significant
opportunity for "at-risk" students to have the available resources, funding,
curriculum, and guidance to enter postsecondary education. Beginning as early as
kindergarten and progressing through high school, encouragement for students to
enter college and receive a baccalaureate degree gives "at-risk" students the
much needed support and extra attention they need. Many "at-risk" students need
this help to successfully apply, attend, and graduate from college. Using early
intervention strategies: (1) eliminates the boundaries between schools and
colleges, (2) discourages student drop-out, and (3) gives students hope to
pursue entrance into college. Active participation by school counselors,
teachers, school and college administrators, college student support staff, and
faculty generates involvement between schools and colleges but also eases the
transitions from one institution to another.
The term "at-risk" or "high-risk" students
are used to define those students whose probability of withdrawal from college
is above average (Jones & Watson, 1990). These students, mostly found among
the underrepresented in higher education, rate of attrition is
disproportionately higher than the general student population. Therefore,
colleges and universities make special efforts to identify and monitor the
admission of these students. Once admitted, many institutions provide special
student support services and programs in an attempt to retain these students and
increase their graduation rates. Financially, institutions monitor the
enrollment of "at-risk" students partly because the high rates of noncompletion
and declines in student population have a direct effect on the increasing
average cost per student (Jones & Watson, 1990). Demographic characteristics
of groups that have been targeted as high-risk by higher education institutions
and scholars have included: racial and ethnic minorities, economically
disadvantaged, persons with disabilities, first generation to attend college,
international students, women (in traditional male fields), non-traditional age
students, athletes, and transfer students.
TYPES OF PROGRAMS
Private: Early intervention programs were
first established by philanthropists and private entities. A Better Chance was
created in 1964 by 23 independent schools to focus on improving the enrollment
of minority high school students in academically challenging public and private
schools across the United States (Fenske et al, 1997). One of the most
successful private programs, established by Eugene Lang in 1981, is the I Have A
Dream Foundation (IHAD) which has been established in 63 cities, serving over
13,000 students. IHAD programs are designed to provide academic support,
mentors, guidance counseling, and financial assistance for students to graduate
from high school and pursue employment or higher education. In addition to A
Better Chance and the I Have A Dream Foundation, many other foundations
community groups, businesses, professional, civic and service organizations are
also actively involved in the coordination, planning and funding of early
Federal, State and Local Government Collaborations: Congress established the
National Early Intervention Scholarship Program (NEISP) as part of the 1992
reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that provides funding to states for
early intervention programs which specifically target low-income students. In
order for students to receive financial assistance, students must participate in
student support services, which include: tutoring, mentoring, summer programs,
academic advising and development, and student employment. The 1998
reauthorization of the Higher Education Act established the GEAR-UP program
which will retain most of the components of NEISP, and in addition, will seek to
provide services for lower income students as early as the 6th grade.
School College Collaborations: University-school outreach partnerships
provide important opportunities where staff, faculty, and administrators of all
institutions benefit by sharing resources and working together to increase the
participation of at-risk students in higher education. An effort to provide
outreach services between the kindergarten, grade school, high school, and
college that are continued throughout the student's academic progression allows
for encouragement to pursue a college degree at every level of educational
attainment. An example is the Brainpower Connection, an ongoing partnership
between staff at Incarnate Wood College (San Antonio, TX) and the local high
school, grade school, and kindergarten within the same community. This project
is designed to provide support and encouragement for students (many who will be
first generation college students) to complete high school and enter higher
education (Rose, 1993).
College and University Supported Programs: Once "at-risk" students enter
college it is important that they participate in student support services. There
are several characteristics of successful student support services for "at-risk"
students: (1) a freshman year experience, (2) academic support, (3) student
service contacts, (4) recruitment activities and incentives for participation,
(5) dedicated staff and directors, and (6) an important role on campus
(Muraskin, 1997). College and universities sponsor early intervention programs
with many different initiatives and goals for "at-risk" students, including: (1)
increasing the high school graduation rates and college attendance, (2)
increasing the retention rates of these students at their own institutions, (3)
preparing students to pursue particular academic majors and careers, and (4)
encouraging students to attend their institution (Perna, et al, 1998).
WHY ARE EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMS IMPORTANT FOR MINORITIES?
Early intervention programs have played a very important and
significant role in providing services particulary for minority youth. As the
participation rates of African-American and Latino students continue to
increase, the services that will guide them towards successful entrance and
transition to college life will be key determinants on student retention.
Although there is a significant increase in the higher education of minorities,
this group is predominately concentrated at community colleges with few
transferring into four-year institutions (Brewer, 1990). Also, most minority
students (83.7 percent) are still enrolled in lower-cost and public institutions
(Wilds & Wilson, 1998). Early intervention programs can provide college
preparation for more African American, Latino, Asian and Native American
students to meet the criteria of the more selective public flagship and private
institutions. These initiatives can also decrease the gaps between the
participation of Whites and minorities and address the lack of representation of
minorities in certain career fields, including mathematics and science.
Early intervention programs are a key element of providing a solid framework
to increase the retention of first-generation, low income minority students.
African American and Latino students are less likely to graduate from college
and complete a four year degree in comparison to White students, especially at
predominately White institutions (Wilds & Wilson, 1998; Brewer, 1990).
Therefore, the concern for students of color in higher education does not stop
with access into the institution but continues with providing the resources to
retain these students. By implementing on-going educational programs and student
support services at postsecondary institutions, minority student concerns and
issues in higher education are addressed at an early stage of college student
PROVIDING AN EARLY START
Efforts to provide early college
intervention programs initially targeted minority, low income high school
juniors and seniors. Presently, more programs are being established for students
at a younger age (including elementary and middle school). Many of these
students will be first generation college students and will need preparation and
information about higher education.
If the emphasis on attending college starts in grade school, students and
families have more time to prepare to attend college. Students whose parents
attended college may already have the support and guidance from home. Students
from higher economic backgrounds also have the resources available, such as:
test preparation courses, private schooling, summer college enrichment programs,
and independent educational consultants. However, many "at-risk" students have
to rely on their schools or outreach programs to prepare them for post-secondary
education. For over three decades, Federal TRIO programs have provided
opportunities for "at-risk" groups from pre-college level to post-graduate
FEDERAL TRIO PROGRAMS
Funded under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, TRIO programs have been dedicated to assisting low
income, first generation students to overcome class and social barriers for
successful entrance and graduation from college. Two-thirds of the participants
represent both: (1) first generation college students and (2) students from
lower income families (one-third of participants are from either group). Over
2,300 TRIO projects provided services to 740,550 students in 1999.
"Talent Search" provides academic support, admissions counseling, financial
aid and scholarship assistance for students in grades six through twelve.
"Upward Bound" students receive intensive college preparation through
advising, counseling, instruction and tutoring on college campuses in
after-school and summer programs. They also participate in college admissions
activities and workshops.
"Upward Bound Math and Science" students focus on computer technology,
science and math in preparation for college entrance and majors in those areas.
"Veterans Upward Bound" programs provide basic study skills and developmental
courses for military veterans to prepare for higher education. Referrals are
made to other services which provide veterans support including the Veterans
Administration, veteran associations and state and local government agencies.
"Student Support Services" provides tutoring, advising, developmental
instruction and other student services to students who are currently attending
college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees.
"Educational Opportunity Centers" helps adults, including displaced or
under-employed workers, select and apply for postsecondary education and
"Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement" programs encourages low
income students and minority undergraduates to pursue a career in college
teaching by providing faculty mentors and research opportunities.
Today, several early intervention programs are
coordinated and funded by colleges and universities, community groups,
businesses, and other organizations that are committed to providing opportunity
and access of underrepresented and disadvantaged citizens into higher education.
The assistance of government (federal, state and local) in providing funding,
mentor opportunities, employment for students, and other resources has also been
very instrumental in efforts to provide outreach to "at-risk" students (Fenske,
et. al., 1997). These programs have a direct effect on the improvement of high
school performance and completion. Early intervention programs, in helping
students prepare for the competitive college admissions process, have also
encouraged and provided the resources for "at-risk" students to complete high
school successfully (Rose, 1993).
Brewer, Carolyn. (1990). Minority success in
college: What works. Minority Student Success Project. Washington State Board
for Community College Education and the Washington Center for Improving the
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Fenske, Robert, Gerianos, Christine, Keller Jonathan, & Moore, David.
(1997). Early intervention programs: Opening the door to higher education.
ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No 6. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington
University, School of Education and Human Development. ED 412 863.
Jones, Dionne & Watson, Betty Collier. (1990). "High risk" students in
higher education: Future trends. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 3.
Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and
Human Development. ED 321 726
Jones, Dionne & Watson, Betty Collier. (1990). "High risk" students and
higher education: Future trends. ERIC Digest. ED 325 033 HE 023 950.
Muraskin, Lana. (1997). Best practices in student support services: A study
of five exemplary sites. Follow up Study on Student Support Services Programs.
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Perna, Laura, Fenske, Robert, & Swail, Watson Scott. (1999, Fall). An
overview of early intervention programs. Advances in Educational Research.
Rose, Richard. (1993, Spring/Summer). Resources for early intervention
strategies: College and school cooperation in San Antonio. College &
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Wilds, Deborah, & Wilson, Reginald. (1998). Minorities in higher
education. 1997-98 sixteenth annual status report. Washington, DC: American
Council on Education, Office of Minority Concerns.