Executive Summary: Fostering the success of students of color and students admitted academically at risk has become an important goal for many institutions of higher education. In order to increase the success of these special student populations, some researchers believe that universities must be proactive in their efforts to help students. In fact, studies indicate that proactive programs are crucial, for it is often the students who need help the most that tend not to seek it. Numerous programs have been implemented to encourage increased academic achievement and retention among minority students and students admitted at higher risk of academic failure. The Access Program at Western Washington University is an example of such an effort. This study seeks to replicate and expand upon a previous thesis addressing the Access Program. The intent is to analyze the relationship between voluntary participation in Access and two benchmarks of student progress: 1) academic achievement, as measured by cumulative grade point average (GPA) over the first academic year, and 2) retention, as measured by continued enrollment from the Fall quarter of the first year to the Fall quarter following the first year. A survey was also conducted, to obtain qualitative data regarding why students depart from Western Washington University. Results indicate higher cumulative GPA's and higher rates of retention for students who elect to participate in the Access Program than for those who are eligible, but choose not to participate. Furthermore, minority students who participate in the Access Program are found to be more successful in the above two measures than their eligible minority counterparts who do not participate. However, minority students as a whole score lower on both measures than nonminority students. Prominent reasons for departers to leave the institution were transfer to another school, social/cultural reasons, and financial concerns.
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Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Senecal, Beth A.; McKinney, Gary R.; and Trimble, Joseph E., "The Relationship between Participation in the Access Program and the Academic Achievement and Retention of Minority and Non-Minority First-Year Undergraduates" (1993). Office of Survey Research. Paper 380.