- Provides Guide to Designing New Early Intervention Programs
- Describes Established Practices of 17 State-Sponsored Early Intervention Programs
- Highlights Common Characteristics and Key Components
Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2003—Early intervention programs in secondary schools significantly improve the chances that low-income and minority students will attend post-secondary education, according to a new report developed by the Institute for Higher Education Policy and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. The report, “Investing Early: Intervention Programs in Selected U.S. States” by Alisa Cunningham, Christina Redmond and Jamie Merisotis, investigates 17 programs in 12 states to pinpoint characteristics and practices upon which new intervention programs can be modeled.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of state-sponsored early intervention programs designed to encourage disadvantaged students to obtain the information and perform the steps necessary to enter post-secondary education. Cunningham, director of research for the Institute for Higher Education Policy, said, “Educators and policymakers in many U.S. states are placing their hopes on the potential of early intervention programs to bring historically underserved populations into the higher education mainstream. To their credit, policymakers recognize that grants, loans, and financial aid are important, but some students need more than money.”
The report answers questions about characteristics of several very different types of state-sponsored intervention programs. What services do they provide? How are programs being managed? More important, the report discusses other common features that are reflected in the general approach of the programs, how programs are targeted, and how programs are administered and evaluated.
Twelve states that operate intervention programs that have been in existence since 1995-96 or longer made information available for the profiles and are included in the report. They are California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Given lengthy experience with intervention programs, the authors believe that programs in these states have characteristics and established practices that can be used as a guide for future early intervention programs.
Key findings include the following components of longstanding programs.
- Programs that combine multiple components such as support services integrated with financial incentives can motivate students to pursue a college education.
- Tutoring, mentoring and academic enrichment frequently are combined and become important facets of most of the programs.
- To resolve the dilemma of small vs. large programs, several states operate tiered programs where a small group of participants receives more extensive services and the broader population receives general awareness and information services.
- The timing of program intervention also is an important feature. Participation frequently is strategically directed to students at specific grade levels.
- Continuous contact between program staff and participants is an important characteristic of long-standing programs.
- A partnership with a higher education institution frequently is an asset.
- Partnerships with community organizations and policies that link intervention programs with other education initiatives in the state are vital.
Research for this report was sponsored by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation based in Montreal. The report is being published in English and French and will be available on the foundation website at http://www.millenniumscholarships.ca.