In the twenty-first century, the processes by which students move from high school to college—including college choice, access, readiness, matriculation, and completion—are more important than ever before. Students from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds must negotiate these processes if they wish to thrive in an information-and-service-driven economy. However, not all students experience these processes in the same ways; for some students, transitioning from high school to college, including community colleges, 4-year institutions, and elite public or private universities, can be extremely difficult.
For historically underserved students (defined as students from low-income families, those who are first in their families to attend college, and students of color or racialized students) gaining access to and transitioning to college can be a great challenge. In recognition of these challenges, federal, state, and local governing bodies have instituted policies, practices, and programs to increase underserved populations’ participation in higher education. However, two common concepts, the educational pipeline and the deficit model, mitigate the benefits of these programs and policies for underserved students.
Educational leaders must rethink and reframe these paradigms in order to help historically underserved students access and succeed in college.
Community colleges (colleges in Canada), educate many traditionally underserved students, including racialized students, immigrant students, first-generation students, and students from low-income families.
In my article, Historically Underserved Students: What We Know, What We Still Need to Know, I discuss what we know about these students, how they have fared in college transitions, how educational pipeline and deficit models have helped or hindered their progress, and what community college educators should seek to understand about this diverse population of students.
I would love to learn about how you have supported educational access and student success for historically underserved students, especially in light of anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous and anti-racism frameworks and lenses?
Let’s share and connect. I’d love to hear your thoughts.