Research Publication Title

Institutional Commitment to Student Access and Success: A Comparative Analysis of Two Integrative Campus Programs

Major

Sociology

Faculty Mentor

Stephanie McClure

Keywords

Higher Education, Bridge Program, Early College, Race, Income, Access, Success, Integration

Abstract

Access and success for underprepared students is an important issue in higher education. This is particularly true for low-income students, who are also often members of underrepresented racial groups. Two programs that have developed across the country to help address these concerns are Summer Bridge Programs (SBP) and Early College (EC) programs. Early Colleges are an educational form which builds the concept of dual enrollment into the structure of the school itself, and SBPs offer conditional admission to freshman applicants who demonstrate potential for success in college but who do not meet all the standards for traditional admittance to the university. Both of these programs are offered at Georgia College. However, the populations served by these two programs, and the institutional support for these two programs, are very different. The EC program serves to integrate and prepare a population that is predominantly Black and low socioeconomic status, while the Bridge program population, contrary to patterns of Bridge enrollment across the country, is overwhelmingly White and from middle- and upper-income families. In line with Tinto’s (1993) model, the goals of these programs are to increase student success through the means of academic and social integration on campus. Based on previous literature, there is no existing data that compares EC programs and SBPs, and this research seeks to bridge this gap to better understand these programs’ structure and function for integration. We analyze secondary data that considers the effectiveness of the programs and conducts focus groups with Georgia College students who participate in these programs to assess their feelings of integration and belonging on campus. Finally, we explore key factors within these programs that are related to and impact student social and academic integration and make recommendations for change that could improve the programs, individually.

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Institutional Commitment to Student Access and Success: A Comparative Analysis of Two Integrative Campus Programs

Access and success for underprepared students is an important issue in higher education. This is particularly true for low-income students, who are also often members of underrepresented racial groups. Two programs that have developed across the country to help address these concerns are Summer Bridge Programs (SBP) and Early College (EC) programs. Early Colleges are an educational form which builds the concept of dual enrollment into the structure of the school itself, and SBPs offer conditional admission to freshman applicants who demonstrate potential for success in college but who do not meet all the standards for traditional admittance to the university. Both of these programs are offered at Georgia College. However, the populations served by these two programs, and the institutional support for these two programs, are very different. The EC program serves to integrate and prepare a population that is predominantly Black and low socioeconomic status, while the Bridge program population, contrary to patterns of Bridge enrollment across the country, is overwhelmingly White and from middle- and upper-income families. In line with Tinto’s (1993) model, the goals of these programs are to increase student success through the means of academic and social integration on campus. Based on previous literature, there is no existing data that compares EC programs and SBPs, and this research seeks to bridge this gap to better understand these programs’ structure and function for integration. We analyze secondary data that considers the effectiveness of the programs and conducts focus groups with Georgia College students who participate in these programs to assess their feelings of integration and belonging on campus. Finally, we explore key factors within these programs that are related to and impact student social and academic integration and make recommendations for change that could improve the programs, individually.