Institutional Change

Starting from the belief that high schools and colleges need to see it as their job to educate young people about college and career pathways, CARA explores how institutions and policies can change to better support students through the varied steps to defining and realizing their postsecondary goals. Our research in and with our partner sites provides a critical window into how to create the infrastructure needed to do this work and the specific policies and practices that facilitate and/or hinder progress.

Featured Publications

Policy Brief Cover

Organizing for Access: Building School Capacity to Support Students’ Postsecondary Pathways
This brief is the result of three years of research at 7 NYC public high schools working to improve their college access infrastructure. It explores the challenges schools face and surfaces successful practices for curriculum implementation, professional development, and college counseling support.

What the Pandemic Can Teach Us About FAFSA Completion

Report: CARA (2021)
In this research on FAFSA completion during the pandemic, we find most students at our partner schools who are skipping FAFSA are doing so because they are undocumented, they have career plans that do not involve college, or they are unlikely to receive substantial financial aid.






The role of institutional agents in promoting higher education success among first-generation college students

Article: Journal of Diversity in Higher Education (2020)
This study finds that institutional agents, specifically college faculty, play a significant role in first-generation students’ success by imparting intellectual capital and institutional resources critical to navigating higher education.






(Mis)reading social class in the journey towards college: Youth development in urban America 

Article: Teachers College Record (2007)
Drawing on research conducted at three small urban public schools over the course of a year, this article offers an important lens on the ways that social class shapes students’ developmental experiences and choices, paving some roads and obstructing easy access down others.