PROVISIONAL ADMISSION:
ENHANCING COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY
FOR ACADEMICALLY UNDERPREPARED STUDENTS
Andrew Howard Nichols, Ph.D.
Senior Research Analyst
The Pell Institute
[email protected]
http://www.pellinstitute.org/
Student Financial Aid Research Network
Philadelphia, PA (June, 2011)
SESSION OUTLINE
Overview
 Definition of Provisional Admission
 Rationale
 Design
 Quantitative
 Qualitative
 Discussion / Recommendations
 Questions and comments

2
STUDY OVERVIEW

Joint venture with National Association of
College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

Funded by the Lumina Foundation for
Education

Study is complete & report to be published
later this summer (2011)
3
WHAT IS PROVISIONAL ADMISSION?

A mechanism for colleges to enroll students who show
potential to succeed in college but may not meet standard or
preferred academic qualifications.

Provisionally admitted students are asked to satisfy
requirements beyond what is expected of regularly admitted
students.




Meet certain academic performance requirements,
Take specific classes or a reduced course load
Utilize or participate in special student services
Provisional admission practices also are referred to by other
names, such as conditional admission.
4
THE CASE FOR PROVISIONAL ADMISSION

Initial enrollment at a 4-year college is positively
related to bachelor’s degree attainment

Programs / policies often include additional
support and structure

Help enhance institutional diversity

Relatively unexplored in the research literature
5
DESIGN – MIXED METHODS APPROACH

Quantitative: 17-item survey sent to admission
office personnel at 1,263 distinct 4-year
institutions. 26% response rate.


Administered in Fall 2010 as part of NACAC’s Annual
Admission Trends Survey
Qualitative: Document analysis, interviews, &
focus group discussions during site visits to 5 fouryear campuses with provisional admission
programs / policies
6
SURVEY
Sample (n = 330)
 Sample was fairly representative with regard to:

Control– slightly more privates (73%)
 Region – S/SW slightly underrepresented
 Enrollment – smaller colleges underrepresented
 Selectivity


Analysis – frequencies & percentages with
crosstabular, correlation, and mean comparison

Control, enrollment, %Pell, and selectivity
SURVEY FINDINGS

57% (148) of respondents had PA initiatives
according to our definition
 PA

positively related to %Pell and acceptance rate
Average size = 104 (F2009) & 107(F2010)
 Larger
at public institutions
 Size positively related to enrollment
 Provisional admits about 5% of full-time, first-time
admits in F2010
8
SURVEY FINDINGS (CONT.)

79% of institutions DIDN’T target specific student
populations
Most selective more likely to target selected students
 Public more likely to target athletes
 Larger schools more likely to target racial/ethnic & 1stgen students


Only 18% of institutions conducted special
outreach

Selective more likely to reach out
SURVEY FINDINGS (CONT.)

Program components





Specific courses (62%)
Reduced course load (61%)
Minimum GPA (50%)
Orientation (48%)
Full-time attendance (63%)



70% Private, 33% Public (High %Pell were less likely to require)
Only 18% offered financial support
Required Services



Regular meetings with advisor (88%)
Mandated tutoring (67%)
Peer Mentoring (36%)
SURVEY FINDINGS (CONT.)

Evaluation & Success

72% indicated they evaluate…something
1st year GPA (84%)
 1st to 2nd year retention (82%)
 Cumulative GPA (58%)
 4 year graduation rate (51%)
 6 year graduation – Public (67%), Private (34%)


72% of students in these programs were retained to the
second year

Moderate negative relationship between %Pell and 1st year
completion
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CONCLUSIONS FROM SURVEY

Provisional admission initiatives can be expanded,
particularly at 4yr public institutions

Increase outreach & target services toward historically
underrepresented groups

Programs seem fairly successful with 1st year retention
– our data compared favorably to IPEDS & ACT data

Long-term impact of these programs needs to be
examined. Unable to obtain 6yr graduation rates
12
SITE VISIT SELECTION CRITERIA

The institution must be a 4-year, bachelor
degree-granting institution within the United
States that receives Title IV funds.

The institution must exceed their respective
sector’s percent increase between 1998/99
and 2007/08 in Pell grant recipients.


26.5% for public institutions
28.9% for private institutions
SITE VISIT SELECTION CRITERIA (CONT.)

The institution’s percentage of undergraduates
receiving Pell grants must exceed their respective
sector’s representation of all Pell grant recipients
in 07/08.
30.3% for public institutions
 13.6% for private institutions


The institution must have a broad academic focus.
Schools were removed if they had a specific focus
(e.g., bible colleges, medical, art, etc.)
SITE VISIT SELECTION CRITERIA (CONT.)
Started with over 1,500 institutions
 Ended up with slightly over 200
 6 item screening survey was sent to schools that
were NACAC member institutions
 Browsed websites and made phone calls
 Invited 13 schools to participate and 5 agreed


Pine Manor College (MA), California State University –
Stanislaus (CA), Fayetteville State University (NC),
Winthrop University (SC), and Notre Dame College (OH)
SITE VISIT FINDINGS & CONCLUSIONS

Discovered three PA models
 Supplemental
tutoring model
 Winthrop
University
 Notre Dame College
 Cohort-based
 Pine
curricular instruction model
Manor College
 Summer
bridge experience model
 California
State University, Stanislaus
 Fayetteville state university
16
SITE VISIT FINDINGS & CONCLUSIONS

Students Benefits of PA
 Provided
educational opportunity
 Promoted academic success
 Academic
skill building
 Study and time management skills
 Helped build confidence
 Helped
students build relationships
 Peer
friendships
 Connections with faculty
17
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PA INITIATIVES
No “best” provisional model
 Require academic support
 Clearly outline policies and requirements
 Involve faculty
 Establish early contact
 Encourage engagement
 Monitor student performance
 Maintain contact
 Evaluate

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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS
Andrew Howard Nichols, Ph.D.
Senior Research Analyst
The Pell Institute
[email protected]
http://www.pellinstitute.org/
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Provisional Admission: Enhancing College Opportunity