The Future of Children

Time for Change: A New Federal Strategy to Prepare Disadvantaged Students for College

Abstract

If more children from low-income families graduated from college, income inequality would fall and economic opportunity would increase. A major barrier to a college education for students from low-income families is that they are poorly prepared to do college work. Since the War on Poverty of the 1960s, the federal government has funded several programs to help prepare disadvantaged students to succeed in college. Evaluations show that these programs are at best only modestly successful. We propose to consolidate these programs into a single grant program, require that funded programs be backed by rigorous evidence, and give the Department of Education the authority and funding to plan a coordinated set of research and demonstration programs to develop and rigorously test several approaches to college preparation.

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