This brief presents findings from interviews with North Texas juniors and seniors on the factors, influences, and resources that impact students’ decision-making process as they make post-high school plans.

This journal article explores whether community college websites are a useful medium for providing knowledge relevant to degree completion. The findings suggest that participants frequently encountered problems with finding and understanding information about degree selection and completion. The content analysis of these problems yields recommendations for improving the usability of community college websites for answering common questions about degree completion.

This journal article discusses a qualitative study of a college coach program introduced in 12 nonselective Chicago Public Schools in fall 2004. It describes how the coach program works and analyzes key aspects that may explain its positive relationship with college enrollment outcomes.


Researchers from AIR conducted an evaluation of CareerSource North Central Florida's Opportunity Quest program. The program leveraged U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Working Families Initiative funding to simultaneously address the job training needs and childcare barriers among low-income, low-skilled parents, giving them the flexibility to train toward a sustainable career path. Through partnerships with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), education and training providers, community-based organizations, and local employers, Opportunity Quest linked custodial parents with flexible childcare resources and supportive services and aimed to provide them with an innovative training program offering occupational and entrepreneurial skills training to help participants develop employability and information technology (IT) skills.

Postsecondary administrators interested in serving parenting adult learners (PALs) need to know more about them and the supports they need in their pursuit and completion of postsecondary credentials. This project leverages data from an AIR survey of adult learners and one-on-one interviews with a subset of parenting adult learners to answer three key questions: 1) What factors contribute to PALs’ decisions to enroll in college? 2) What do the academic experiences of PALs look like? and 3) What supports and resources do PALs use and want? Building on a broad research base on the experiences of parenting students, results from this research shed light on the particular experiences of adult learners with children and point to ways practitioners and policymakers can better align programs and resources to this student population.

To strengthen students’ pathways through postsecondary education and into in-demand careers, employers and colleges must work more closely together. Industry-led public‒private partnerships have tremendous potential to build and grow these employer‒college relationships, but little information is available on these partnerships and their postsecondary initiatives. This project aims to fill this gap and foster the growth of these initiatives by highlighting the features of industry-led public‒private partnerships’ initiatives with postsecondary institutions and providing lessons and opportunities for developing, sustaining, and scaling these initiatives. The project website hosts a report, geographic map, directory, and recorded webinar to foster information sharing.

To improve equity in access, AIR will utilize US Census Data to examine the characteristics of veterans eligible for the Post- 9/11 GI Bill (PGIB) who do not use it (“GI Bill skippers”). AIR will then build on the above analysis to do a deeper dive on why veterans with characteristics of particular interest to the foundation (e.g., students of color) or particular combinations of characteristics from the factor analysis (e.g., women of color with dependents), did not use their benefits. By collecting and analyzing additional qualitative interview data from these groups, AIR could identify needs as well as policies and practices that might help veterans with these characteristics use their PGIB benefits and pursue postsecondary education going forward.

AIR, in collaboration with Quality Education for Minorities and the Kapor Center, is examining learning environments that enable undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to thrive and subsequently attain doctoral degrees in science and engineering (S&E). The goals of the study are to (a) identify unique characteristics of S&E learning environments at the 21 HBCUs ranked as top producers of Black baccalaureate degree recipients who earn S&E doctorates (“anchor institutions”), (b) identify HBCUs that have similar characteristics as the anchor institutions and have a high potential to graduate students who go on to earn doctoral degrees, and (c) develop and disseminate a model that builds HBCU capacity to produce graduates who go on to earn S&E doctorates. Click here to access the project website.

AIR worked with the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) to learn more about how the foundation can extend high school counselors’ reach to better support students’ post-high school transitions. Specifically, AIR developed and conducted surveys and focus groups with high school counselors and out-of-school time (OST) staff regarding the extent to which resources developed for Future Focused TX were being used by counselors and might be used by OST programs. AIR also developed and conducted interviews with high school juniors and seniors about the factors, influences, and resources that impact students’ decision-making process as they make post-high school plans. 

Through a grant with the Institute of Education Sciences, AIR's Lynn Mellor and Jason Lee are examining the implementation and outcomes associated with Texas’s enactment of a statewide policy requiring students to complete a financial aid application as a high school graduation requirement. The study aims to learn how districts are supporting students and parents regarding completing college financial aid applications and how this may lead to increased college enrollment for Texas high school students.