Skip to main content

Promise Lost: College-Qualified Students Who Don't Enroll In College

Despite the increasing importance of higher education, students who are academically qualified for college still face numerous barriers to college enrollment. These barriers range from insufficient financial aid to mixed messages about academic preparation, poor understanding of admission and financial aid application processes, and limited community encouragement. Improving access to college for these students requires policies informed by the perspectives that counselors and college-qualified students have on each of these barriers. To contribute to a better understanding of these perspectives, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) carried out two national surveys, one of college-qualified high school graduates and another of high school counselors. Results from the two surveys pointed to the need for policy intervention or further research in the following five categories: college cost and the availability of aid, the steps to enroll in college, opportunity cost, economic mobility, and transparency about the amount and types of financial aid available.

Research and Reports