Building Evidence to Increase Rural Learner Success

Native American students talking on campus

To improve research around pathways into the workforce for rural learners, Ascendium Education Group provides funding for seven research projects; AIR is serving as the organizing partner. AIR works collaboratively with Ascendium in developing the RFP, selecting the grantees, and organizing the researchers to share findings.

Projects funded through this initiative cover a range of topics and are located throughout the country. For example, the University of Idaho is conducting a longitudinal study which will examine the effects of institutional programs and practices on low-income rural college students’ academic, psychosocial, and workforce-related outcomes. The Belk Center at North Carolina State University is examining processes for implementing equity-focused policies and practices at rural community colleges to measure their impact. The American Indian College Fund and the Urban Institute are generating insights from tribal colleges and universities about serving students with child caregiving responsibilities to inform the refinement of an existing tool to help all types of rural-serving institutions.

Collectively, AIR and Ascendium hope the data gathered from these projects will help advance the understanding of rural learners and the postsecondary education and workforce pathways that best serve them.