American Institutes for Research Experts Play a Key Role in the “Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study” Report

Washington, D.C. – A team of experts from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) played a key role in writing and producing "Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study," a congressionally mandated report that documents the gaps in access to and completion of higher education by minority males. Released by the federal National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on August 28, 2012, the report was submitted to Congress.

AIR analysts authored twenty-six of the indicators found in the report by working with data from complex survey designs, conducting statistical analysis and testing, and writing key findings. AIR also provided NCES with methodological support and statistical programming for several logistic multiple regression analyses conducted on two longitudinal data sets.

The report compares educational participation and attainment between Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native males and their female peers, as well as comparisons between males in these racial/ethnic groups and White males. The report includes 46 indicators in seven chapters: Demographic Context, Characteristics of Schools, Student Behaviors and Afterschool Activities, Academic Preparation and Achievement, College Knowledge, Postsecondary Education, and Postsecondary Outcomes and Employment. In addition, the report identified student, family, and school/institutional factors that are significantly associated with the odds that a student will immediately enroll in a postsecondary institution after completing high school and the odds that a student will attain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years of beginning postsecondary enrollment.

Some of the key findings from this report include:

  • On-time high school graduation rates in 2008-09 were higher for Asian/Pacific Islander males (88.0 percent) than for White (78.9 percent), Black (57.3 percent), Hispanic (60.3 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native males (60.5 percent).
  • In 2010, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college or graduate school was higher for females (47 percent) than males (39 percent). This pattern was also found for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and persons of two or more races.
  • Among beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates in 2004, results indicated that females were more likely than males to have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree program by 2009, after taking into account several student, family, high school, and postsecondary institutional characteristics. Factors associated with a higher likelihood of degree attainment included taking higher-level mathematics courses in high school; earning college-level credits in high school; starting postsecondary education at a four-year institution; meeting with a college advisor in the first year; participating in college clubs in the first year; and maintaining full-time enrollment at their institution.

The full report is available online at

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


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