Student Financial Aid
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Opportunity Matters
Occasional Paper Series


Opportunity Matters is a publication by Research, Evaluation, and Data Use Community of Practice of in collaboration with the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Opportunity Matters is an open-access academic and creative journal where scholars, practitioners, students, parents and community leaders involved with educational opportunity programs can share their research, reports, ideas and creative works.

Volume 3, Issue 1, Summer 2017 (.pdf)

Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2016 (.pdf)

Volume 1, 2008 (.pdf)

Submission Guidelines, April 2016 (.pdf)

Research, Evaluation, and Data Use Community of Practice


  • Upward Bound Mythbusters Integrate Knowledge with Skill in Science and Mathematics (.pdf)
    Martin Kelly, Benjamin L. Randle III, and Antwan K. Barlow
    Using an investigative curriculum, High school students in an Upward Bound Program were taught quantitative processes shared in science and mathematics. The mathematics content was limited to what is required in introductory college biology laboratory courses. The television show "Mythbusters" was used to present the scientific method to summer program participants. A laboratory activity that tested our ability to accurately predict adult human height was used to reinforce student understanding of linear metric units, calculation of averages, estimation of frequency, parts and notation of fractions, calculation of proportions and percentages, the relation between proportions and percentages, the interpretation of proportions and percentages, graphing data, and accepting or rejecting a scientific hypothesis. After instruction, students stated an increased understanding of this quantitative content.


  • Dusting Off: Recollections and Reflections from the Field! (.pdf)
    Carmen N. Veloria
    In the process of reflecting on an action-based ethnographic study, the author comments on the process of recollecting and the crucial work of researcher reflexivity before embarking on a new inquiry with a former student. The notion of "dusting-off" represents shifts in thinking long after leaving the field and reflecting on previously collected data. This process prompted the need for a different way of remembering prior to conducting subsequent research. Post-modern perspectives on narrative analysis and Critical Race Feminism (CRF) inform this reflective essay.


  • How BA-Seeking Students from Low-income Families Use Financial Aid and Other Resources to Persist Beyond the First Year (.pdf)
    Tiffany C. Martνnez
    Following the rise of social media, we have entered an era where students now have the platform to voice their own concerns. Mainstream media has fallen short, the middle man has been eliminated, and no longer are our words filtered through the lens of corporations. Through this narrative, my words are raw and my experiences are nothing less than valid because they are indeed MY experiences. Today, I am in charge of how this story is told. A version of this piece was initially published on my blog as a way to tell the world what really happened when the McNair Scholars fought Suffolk University in December of 2015. Our story had been silenced. Until now.