Forging Pathways to Upward Mobility: Supportive Policies and Programs at Institutions of Higher Education
This qualitative study was designed to explore the programs, policies, and initiatives at Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that contribute to the upward economic mobility of students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. While general knowledge surrounding IHEs performance in graduating students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds into higher-earning careers exists in part, an understanding of how these institutions are able to support students in this manner did not exist. Therefore, a multi-site case study approach was utilized to explore how IHEs functioned to support students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds in becoming upwardly mobile. In this multi-site case study, three institutions were included, and 5 participants from each institution were interviewed. The included sites comprised IHEs that were similar in their geographic locations in a large urban region in Northeastern United States. The IHEs were also similar in their performance in the areas of (1) providing access to students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and (2) supporting students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds in becoming upwardly mobile, evidenced by the percentage of this population that obtain higher-earning careers. The data indicated that these IHEs were able to support students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds in becoming upwardly mobile by (1) being responsive to the unique needs of their students and by providing support that is tailored to those needs, (2) sharing responsibility in supporting students and executing the key policies, programs, and initiatives associated with the institution, (3) making pathways easier to navigate for students, and (4) placing importance on the hiring of those that are motivated to support students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds.
Education Policy|Higher education
Rencher, Mica J, "Forging Pathways to Upward Mobility: Supportive Policies and Programs at Institutions of Higher Education" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29206814.