Poverty Lab Chicago College Success

Access the landscape scan report here.

Research tells us that one of the most effective routes out of poverty is education. With a high school diploma, 55 percent of children born into low-income families will move into a higher income quintile in adulthood; with a college degree, that number jumps to 84 percent. Unfortunately, the playing field is not level for first-generation college students and students from underrepresented minority groups. The complexity of the college application process, high cost of college, and unwelcoming campus environments all contribute to disparities in college access and success. Many organizations partner with high schools in Chicago to support students in addressing these barriers to college success through a variety of programs and services, but there is little evidence about which approaches work for whom.

To that end, the Poverty Lab is taking a comprehensive approach to understanding the effectiveness of college access and success programming in Chicago. The research team first conducted a landscape scan survey of 34 college access and success providers to better understand the system of supports currently available to Chicago students as they work on applying to, enrolling in, and persisting through college. The Poverty Lab is now conducting individual program evaluations with five partner organizations who took the landscape scan and who have varied program models. Finally, the Lab will complete a meta-analysis, looking across the previous evaluations for patterns in which types of supports are most effective for different groups of students.

College Access and Success in Chicago: Final Report