Project
Developing Access Equity (DAE) at a Private HBCU/PBI
Description
This project will improve outcomes for students experiencing financial/income inequities by developing solutions that address the barriers faced by students who are less resourced than others or are first in college/first generation.
Address Equity Gaps
4-Year Institution
HBCU/PBI
Georgia
James Sanders
Director of Institutional Research
Felisha White
Institutional Effectiveness Business Intelligence Analyst
Evidence

Spelman found a lag in graduation rates for Pell-eligible students compared to non-Pell-eligible students. As a proxy for SES, Pell-eligibility is used as a method to preemptively identify and support students who may come from marginalized communities, have a need to work full-time, previously experienced lack of academic support, inconsistent funding, or availability of resources, and potentially lack a social safety net.

The project employs quantitative, qualitative (mixed methods) and regression analysis during the data exploration phase. Historical data from our Banner SIS, our Financial Aid Office and from IPEDS was used to identify trends in the data and in student performance. Student focused surveys will be distributed to students, alumnae, faculty, and staff to examine student experiences and gather faculty and staff observations. Resources and assistance from other Spelman College departments and units including the Office of Financial Aid and our Student Success Program (SSP) will be solicited.

Goal

Spelman's DEI project will improve admission, enrollment, and retention for students experiencing financial/income inequities by developing solutions that address the barriers faced by students who are less resourced than others or are first in college/first generation by positioning resources focused on improving access and academic outcomes. Institutional resources may include financial, academic, and social support via institutional programs.

Lessons Learned

Implementation of this initiative led to the following plans for scaling and sustaining the work:
- Secure continued buy-in from new executive leadership.
- Identify specific outcomes and thresholds of success.
- Establish touchpoints for formative evaluation.
- Incorporate multiple DEI-focused initiatives.
- Integrate support strategies into existing programming (e.g., current mentoring or pathways programs.)
- Identify and earmark appropriate resources.
- Establish cross-functional working groups to continuously monitor progress and review results of data collection.