The Pell Institute

The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, the research arm of the Council for Opportunity in Education, conducts and disseminates research and policy analysis to encourage policymakers, educators, and the public to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for students from low-income backgrounds, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities.

41st SFARN

Registration is now open!

The 41st Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference will take place in person on July 10-12, at the University of Maryland – College Park located at 3972 Campus Drive College Park, MD, 20742. 

Download the tentative agenda here.

Registration Fees:

  • $300 General
  • $100 Student (Undergraduate and Graduate)

*If registering as a student, a student ID will be required at check-in.

Learn more & register here

Latest report

Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States 2024: 50-Year Historical Trend Report

This 2024 edition is the 9th in the current series, begun in 2015. This publication brings together again in partnership the Pell Institute with the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy of the University of Pennsylvania (PennAHEAD). Both organizations have a core mission to promote a more open, equitable, and democratic system of higher education. The Pell Institute, with its historical and ongoing ties to the federal TRIO programs, has a special mission to promote more opportunity for low-income and first-generation students, and students with disabilities.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

NEWS & IMPACT

Council for Opportunity in Education’s Vice President of Research and Director of the Pell Institute, Dr. Terry Vaughan III, Appointed to uAspire Board

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) announced the appointment of Terry Vaughan III, Ph.D., vice president of research at COE and director of the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, to the national board of uAspire, a prominent nonprofit organization focused on enhancing college affordability and eliminating financial barriers for students. Vaughan will bring his extensive expertise and commitment to educational equity to his new role as a national board member for uAspire. With a mission aligned closely with the Council for Opportunity in Education, uAspire has consistently championed the cause of first-generation college students and those from low-income backgrounds.

MORE HERE

TERRY VAUGHAN III

From College to Careers: The Pell Institute Receives $748,000 Ascendium Grant to Explore Career Development within TRIO Programs

April 7, 2023

This research aims to provide a framework to help postsecondary institutions develop sustainable and equitable career pathways through strategic career exploration and development programming.

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Stay Connected

The Pell Institute is the first research institute to specifically examine the issues affecting educational opportunity for low-income, first-generation, and disabled college students. Learn more about the Pell Institute, including our mission, purpose, goals, and history.

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2022

Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 2022 Historical Trend Report

This 2022 edition is the 8th in the current series, begun in 2015. This publication brings together again in partnership the Pell Institute with the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy of the University of Pennsylvania (PennAHEAD). Both organizations have a core mission to promote a more open, equitable, and democratic system of higher education. The Pell Institute, with its historical and ongoing ties to the federal TRIO programs, has a special mission to promote more opportunity for low-income and first-generation students, and students with disabilities.

Download the Report
About

The purposes of this equity indicators project are to: 1) Report the status of higher education equity in the United States and identify changes over time in measures of equity; 2) Identify policies and practices that promote and hinder progress; and 3) Illustrate the need for increased support of policies, programs, and practices that not only improve overall attainment in higher education but also create greater equity in higher education opportunity and outcomes.

The 2018 Indicators report added data describing higher education equity by U.S. state. The 2019 to 2022 Indicators reports continue and expand the inclusion of state data. Considering indicators of equity by state is essential given the many differences across the 50 states in historical, demographic, economic, and political characteristics, as well as the characteristics of their K-12 and higher education systems.

Indicators reports 2015 to 2019 presented a number of indicators for all students and for dependent students. In the 2020 and 2022 Indicators report, we added disaggregation by dependency status (dependent, independent without dependents, and independent with dependents) where data are available.

The 2021 and 2022 Indicators reports also include historical data on the Federal TRIO programs. Data are presented for each of the programs on numbers served, percent of eligible students served, funding levels, and characteristics of students served. Data presented also include the results of the most recent evaluations on college entrance and completion.

In addition to providing longitudinal indicators of equity, the Indicators project is also intended to advance conversations about effective policies and practices for improving equity in higher education opportunities and outcomes. To this end, the Indicators reports periodically include essays intended to connect the indicators to current policy debates. Reflecting the UNESCO Right to Higher Education (RTHE) theme, the 2022 Indicators report includes a brief essay entitled: The Right to Higher Education: Key Challenges in the U.S. Context and Suggested Principles in a Global Context. In 2018, the Indicators project launched the Improving Equity in Higher Education Search for Solutions Blog hosted by PennAHEAD to further advance the discussion of creating meaningful improvements in higher education equity.

Publications

Discover cutting-edge research findings and participate in engaging discussions on topics ranging from access and affordability to student success and retention.