Education Department

Abt to investigate education strategies

Abt Associates has won a $16.5 million contract to investigate the effectiveness of strategies designed to increase the number of disadvantaged students who enroll in and complete college.

The contract was awarded by the Education Department’s Institute of Education Sciences. The strategies being investigated are used in two federal programs focused on improving college access for students in high poverty middle and high schools.

The two federal programs are Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) and Upward Bound.

“Our research will provide valuable information to policymakers about how best to close the disparities in college enrollment which are often attributed to a mix of inadequate financial resources, lack of information, and/or inadequate academic preparation in high school,” said Ricky Takai, head of Abt’s education practice.

Abt’s investigation is a collaborative effort with Washington University’s Center for Social Development, which specializes in research on asset building for disadvantaged families, Abt said.

One of the contract’s options would lead Abt to also collaborate with the American Institutes for Research, in an effort to conduct a study of the effects of one or more strategies for improving educational outcomes for participants in the Upward Bound Program, the company said.

In addition to AIR and Washington University, Abt’s partners include Division Information Resources Inc., Professional and Scientific Associates, Program and Policy Insight LLC and Survey Research Management.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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