The pathway to postsecondary success differs for individuals of varying personal backgrounds, financial situations, and locations. The following resources examine efforts to increase equity in postsecondary education that may enhance the diversity of an educated workforce. The topics include an intervention model highlighting differences among first-generation college students’ backgrounds, financial resources for low-income and non-traditional students, and place-based scholarship programs.

Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap: A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance and All Students’ College Transition. 2013. This study uses a randomized control trial to evaluate the results of a “difference-education” intervention designed to reduce the social-class achievement gap for first-generation college attendees and improve transition for all college students. The difference-education intervention encouraged students to highlight the ways in which the differences in their backgrounds shaped their college experiences. As a result of the intervention, first-generation students increasingly sought resources that improved their grade point averages.

Bolstering Non-Traditional Student Success: A Comprehensive Student Aid System Using Financial Aid, Public Benefits, and Refundable Tax Credits. 2015. This study explains the financial challenges faced by low income and non-traditional students; provides estimates on their growing number of needs; and describes the public benefits of federal- and state-funded financial aid, including PELL grants and work study. Additionally, the authors present the primary challenges students face when seeking access to public benefits, including misalignment between benefits programs and college completion, the limited financial capacity of many benefits programs, and a negative public perception of those who receive public benefits.

Promise Nation: Transforming Communities through Place-Based Scholarships. 2015. This resource analyzes the Promise Scholarship Programs, which seeks to increase access to postsecondary education for students, build a college-going culture in school districts, and place an emphasis on local community and economic development. These place-based scholarship programs offer college tuition to students in approximately 50 cities. The publication covers the history, programmatic differences across locations, student-level outcomes, challenges to the model’s implementation, and future opportunities.