What Are the Best College Access Programs?

Twenty-three programs designed to help youths get to or through college are featured in a new compendium released by the American Youth Policy Forum.

The distinguishing characteristic of all of the programs featured in the report – titled Success at Every Step: How 23 Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond – is that they have all been subjected to rigorous evaluations.

The AYPF examines the degree to which the programs embody what it calls programmatic “elements of success,” such as rigor and academic support, relationships, and “college knowledge” and access. It also examines structural elements of success, such as strategic use of time and effective use of data.

It reviews the academic outcomes at the high school and post-secondary level, as well as career-related outcomes.

The findings?  Only three of the featured programs – Career Academies, National Guard Youth Challenge and Upward Bound – were found to have demonstrated career-related outcomes, and only five – AVID, Early College High School, GEAR UP, Talent Search and Upward Bound – were found to have demonstrated outcomes for planning for  college and careers.

Free. 239 pages. American Youth Policy Forum,




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