Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    The evolution of university access programmes in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-07-03)
    The aim of this report is to explore the historical development of third level access programmes in Ireland, that is, programmes aimed at improving access to third level education by the socio-economically disadvantaged. One key objective is to locate the UCD higher education access programme – New ERA – within the context of developments in national policy and access initiatives in Ireland. The report also presents a brief overview of previous evaluations of targeted initiatives in Ireland as well as barriers to Higher Education as outlined by Lynch & O Riordan's 1996 study which provided the framework for the development of New ERA. Section 2 provides a definition of 'access' and 'disadvantage'. Section 3 discusses the development of relevant policy on access to higher education. Section 4 examines previous evaluations of targeted initiatives. Section 5 describes the evolution of New ERA and section 6 places the New ERA programme in the context of tackling barriers to access as outlined by Lynch & O'Riordan. Section 7 focuses on current and possible future developments in the New ERA access programme and finally section 8 concludes.
  • Publication
    Money, mentoring and making friends : the impact of a multidimensional access program on student performance
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-04-07) ; ; ;
    There is a well established socioeconomic gradient in educational attainment, despite much effort in recent decades to address this inequality. This study evaluates a university access program that provides financial, academic and social support to low socioeconomic status (SES) students using a natural experiment which exploits the time variation in the expansion of the program across schools. The program has parallels with US affirmative actions programs, although preferential treatment is based on SES rather than ethnicity. Evaluating the effectiveness of programs targeting disadvantaged students in Ireland is particularly salient given the high rate of return to education and the lack of intergenerational mobility in educational attainment. Overall, we identify positive treatment effects on first year exam performance, progression to second year and final year graduation rates, with the impact often stronger for higher ability students. We find similar patterns of results for students that entered through the regular system and the ‘affirmative action’ group i.e. the students that entered with lower high school grades. The program affects the performance of both male and female students, albeit in different ways. This study suggests that access programs can be an effective means of improving academic outcomes for socio-economically disadvantaged students.