A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

FY 1999 Annual Plan - Volume 1. Objective Performance Plans and Data Quality - February 27, 1998

Objective 3.1. Secondary school students get the information, skills, and support they need to prepare successfully for postsecondary education.

Context: The Department of Education supports significant levels of postsecondary student financial estimated at nearly $51 billion for fiscal year 1999. Research has shown, however, that information about the benefits of college, academic requirements, and the availability of financial aid can be as critical as ensuring financial assistance in motivating students and families to begin planning early for college education.

Key strategies for FY 1999


Programs supporting this objective

Information and support services
  • Early Awareness Information
  • High Hopes College-School Partnerships
  • TRIO (Upward Bound and Talent Search)
  • American Printing House for the Blind
  • Migrant education (HEP and CAMP)
  • IDEA Part B
  • Statistics and Assessment

Vocational Education

  • Vocational Education State Grants
  • Tech-Prep Education

Selected performance indicators and charts

The performance indicators included in the Strategic Plan for objective 3.1 relate to expected outcomes of the early college awareness postsecondary education programs and improvements in the student financial aid application system including: increasing college enrollment rates, particularly for low income students; creating greater awareness of the costs of attending college, the availability of financial aid and the academic requirements of college enrollment; and reducing the time needed to process financial aid applications.

Postsecondary education enrollment rates will increase each year for all students while the enrollment gap between low- and high-income and minority and non-minority high school graduates will decrease each year. (Goal 3, indicator 1)

Indicator background and context. In 1996, 49.1 percent of low-income high school graduates, aged 18-19, were enrolled in college, compared to 79.3 percent of high-income students. (Low-income students are from families in the bottom 20 percent of all family incomes. High-income families are in the top 20 percent.)

Over the period of 1975 through 1996, the postsecondary education enrollment rates of both low- and high-income students have tended to increase. However, despite some fluctuations, the gap in enrollment rates between these groups has remained fairly stable over this period. It is expected that the Early Awareness Information program, High Hopes College-School Partnerships program, TRIO programs, and reform efforts at the elementary and secondary school level will increase student interest in, and preparation for, postsecondary education, thereby leading to continued increases in postsecondary enrollment rates, particularly for low-income students.

Data source. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, October Current Population Surveys.

By October 2001 there will be a single point of contact that allows students to get information on federal student aid, apply for aid, and have their eligibility for aid determined within four days of electronic application, cutting in half the current processing time. (Requires approval of electronic signature.) (Goal 3, indicator 4)

Indicator background and context. The current processing time for electronic applications for federal student financial aid is eight days. A streamlined mechanism for electronically applying for student financial aid through the world wide web will give prospective students and their families a single electronic point of contact for all federal student aid programs, and eventually, with the cooperation of the postsecondary education community, this system will respond to all their financial aid questions, including estimates of likely federal aid amounts and costs associated with attending specific schools. Note that a reduction in the processing time for electronic applications from eight to four days can only be achieved with approval of the electronic signature.

Data source. Program data.

Verification/validation of performance measures: Data on performance indicators will be obtained through independent surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Census Bureau which are subject to standards regarding statistical precision and response rates. An independent customer survey is also planned to provide an external check on program reported data on student awareness, usage, and satisfaction.


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