Target Populations

Target Populations: An Overview 

College access and success programs traditionally are thought of as serving high school students on their way to college. However, many access programs often serve clientele that fall into several different target populations. Below you will find resources for those specific populations.


For All Target Populations

FAFSA Tips Sheet
Certain students face unique challenges when applying for financial aid. These tip sheets are designed to help unique student populations overcome these challenges to successfully navigate the financial aid process and access higher education.

The brief synthesizes scholarly research specifically as it pertains to the role of mentoring to promote college access and success. With an emphasis on implications for practitioners, the brief aims to serve as a tangible resource for individuals from college access programs, youth development organizations, and advocacy. In addition, the brief features interviews with practitioners to share lessons from the field.

Adult Learners

In reality, the adult learner actually may need more counseling and assistance than a traditional high school student. While adult learners are seeking the same college degree as younger students, they have the added responsibilities of balancing work, financial and/or family obligations.

For more information about Adult Learners, download the Advisor Training Module - Chapter 11 

First-Generation and Low-Income Students

Cost Perceptions and College-Going for Low Income Students
This brief highlights how inaccurate information, cultural predispositions and loan aversion contributes to the enrollment behavior of low-income students and ultimately, dictates the likelihood of their degree attainment. It draws upon relevant literature as well as the experiences of practitioners to offer recommendations on increasing college access opportunities for underserved students.  This brief emphasizes that when research and practice come together, successful outcomes emerge.

First Generation Student Financial Challenges
This presentation was put together for a professional development opportunity for staff in higher education (admissions and financial aid representations, as well as TRiO staff) and high school counselors, etc. It was designed to help both groups understand the challenges of first-generation, low-income students in higher education.

Homeless and Foster Youth  

Homeless Youth Poster-Spanish Version
This poster example was provided by the National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.


Students of Color

Graduate! Financial Aid Guide to Success (English) (Spanish)
The White House developed this guide as a comprehensive step-by-step guide on the financial aid and college enrollment process for Hispanic high school students and their families. The Guide is the first of its kind. It consolidates and outlines, in a culturally relevant way, college application and enrollment information, federal financial aid and public and private scholarship resources available to better support Hispanic students in their efforts in and afford a postsecondary education.

Supporting Men of Color Along the Educational Pipeline: Research and Practice
This brief features research and practices for working with male students of color: African American, Asian, Latino, and Native American. Featured in this brief are four NCAN members, each experts on working with one of these particular communities.


Undocumented Students

Advising Undocumented and Deferred Action Students
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis compiled a resource for working with and advising students who are undocumented or who have received deferred action.