- Arizona State University's American Dream Academy has graduated more than 35,000 families in a program which helps parents and future students fully understand processes for college admission and success upon entry. It is part of emerging research profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education that suggests that engaged parents help students to develop and retain motivation for completion.
- Some observers say that colleges could be more engaged in the parental recruitment process, particularly for first-generation students. One step is using clearer language for admission materials and communications from the university about financial and academic requirements.
- Another element is understanding cultural nuances. In Texas, a program called Con Mí Madre leverages the important bonds shared by Latina mothers and daughters as a form of promoting college enrollment and completion in underserved communities.
Parents from low-income families are more likely to be vocal about topics like where their children will attend college and how much it will cost but are less likely to engage conversations about remedial courses, completing paperwork and career planning. These are important elements of completion and postgraduate prospects, something all colleges should consider as top priorities.
It is up to college admissions and academic officials to recognize the culture of low-income families in their cities and regions and to develop programming which is authentic to their experience and realities about college affordability. Offering truthful information about preparation and career prospects can help families make more educated decisions about college, and to feel empowered throughout the selection and entry process.