July 2020
Vol 6, Issue 29

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Broad-access institutions accept more than 75% of applicants and serve many first-generation college students and racial and ethnic minority students. But although these institutions provide valuable educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups, they are also plagued by low graduation rates. To investigate whether concerns about belonging (combined with financial constraints and lower levels of academic preparedness) may undermine student success at these institutions, Murphy et al. tested the impact of a customized reading and writing exercise administered to 1,063 first-year students at a midwestern broad-access public university with a high Hispanic population. While similar exercises have been tested at more selective universities with high admission standards, past assessments have tended not to focus on broad-access institutions. The researchers found that the brief exercise raised continuous enrollment over 2 years by 9% among socially disadvantaged students and helped their GPAs to increase by 0.19 points in the semester following their participation in the exercise. [CREDIT: SKYNESHER/ISTOCK]