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Predicting the Relationships between High School Characteristics and High School Community College Enrollment Rate Using the Oregon Promise. Public Deposited

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  • Background: Legislators, policy-makers, and leaders in higher education and within communities, are increasingly turning to place-based scholarships, or “promise programs”, to encourage college enrollment and address growing public concerns regarding college affordability. One such program, the Oregon Promise, was implemented across the state of Oregon in the fall of 2016. Purpose: While a growing amount of research exists on promise programs, the relationship between high school characteristics and community college enrollment utilizing promise funding as a strategy to address college affordability and related access has not been conducted. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between select high school characteristics (a) Oregon Promise high school application rate, (b) high school socio-economic status, (c) high school racial demographics, (d) high school gender demographics, (e) high school counselor-to-student ratio, (f) high school size, and (g) high school participation in ASPIRE, FAFSA Plus, or GEAR Up college support programs with community college enrollment using the Oregon Promise in the first term. Research Design: The sample in this study included all Oregon high schools in 2016 that were in the state report card and had at least a 20 senior graduating class. All data were aggregate, secondary, and provided by state agencies at the institutional level. The study employed multiple regression and examined the relationships between select high school variables and community college enrollment utilizing the Oregon Promise in fall of 2016. An F test was utilized to determine significance. Findings: This study concluded that one variable – Oregon Promise application rate – was statistically significant to community college enrollment. Two other variables – percentage of high school economically disadvantaged students and number of counselors per high school – had moderate relationships but were not statistically significant. Conclusion: While this early study found that Oregon Promise funding alone was not enough to increase community college enrollment at low-income high schools, program application rates were found statistically and positively predictive of community college enrollment. These results invite further research and analysis from education leaders and policy-makers on what encouraged higher Oregon Promise application rates at high schools, in addition to how to incentivize this and other activities that encourage a college-going culture. Future recommended research includes: this study with expanded variables such as parent education and student first generation status, rigorous longitudinal research and trend analysis on the presented descriptive data as related to college-going culture, qualitative research exploring reasons students did or did not enroll in the Oregon Promise, and further research on other state promise programs and the impact on low-income high school enrollment.
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  • Murray-Jensen, J. A. (2018, April 11). Predicting the Relationships between High School Characteristics and High School Community College Enrollment Rate Using the Oregon Promise. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
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