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Policy and Research Issues: Equity/Access/Choice

Policy Questions:

  1. Do students from various groups (for instance, language minority, special education, at-risk) and with different characteristics (differing by gender group, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status) have equal access to different educational processes (e.g. opportunity to learn, academic programs)?

    (a) Access Issues

    • Is there equal access to postsecondary education for different groups?
    • Do different groups of students have differential access to different types of high schools?
    • Is there equal access to a positive school climate and other positive environmental features?
    • What are the various admissions practices in different types of schools, and how do they affect access?
    • Do students from different groups have different access to high quality high schools and postsecondary institutions?

    (b) Equity Issues

    • Is there an equitable distribution of education inputs, resources and processes to different types of students?
    • Do schools serving predominantly poor and minority students offer fewer advanced placement and honors classes?

  2. How is access to college distributed among students from different population groups, family backgrounds, and levels of readiness to attend college?

    • What are the rates and timing of initial enrollment in different kinds of colleges among students from different population groups and family backgrounds?
    • What are the preferences of students among different colleges and the reasons why they enroll in one kind of college versus another, or decide not to enroll?
    • Which students receive offers of student financial aid from which types of colleges in what forms (grants, scholarships, loans, and Work Study)?
    • How much student aid in different forms do students receive when they attend college?
    • To what extent to students work while they are in college and must work to be enrolled? In full-time versus part-time employment? In Work Study jobs or internships?
    • How much loan burden have students taken on since enrolling in college and how much loan burden do they expect to accumulate by the time they leave college?
    • To what extent will they be responsible for paying off their entire loan burden or will they receive some assistance from their parents or others?
    • How are expectations for completing college related to college readiness and the availability of student financial assistance for students from different backgrounds?

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