Access Persistence and Barriers in Postsecondary Education

Research Summary:

In Access, Persistence, and Barriers in Postsecondary Education: A Literature Review and Outline of Future Research, the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) provides an overview of the current research on access to, and retention within, postsecondary education systems. It also provides recommendations about how access to higher education in Ontario can be monitored and reported upon. Finally, it assesses the gaps in our present knowledge of access and recommends ways in which these gaps can be filled through a program of research.

The report finds that while researchers have a fairly sophisticated understanding of who does not participate in higher education, the data on why these groups don’t enter postsecondary institutions is far less complete. To address this gap, EPI proposes both a short-term research program using existing data sources, and a more intensive, long-term project to gather better and more illustrative information on accessibility. By telling us what we do and—more importantly— what we don’t know about postsecondary accessibility and persistence, EPI’s paper represents an important piece of foundation research.


The Educational Policy Institute (EPI) is a private, for-profit collective association of researchers and policy analysts with the goal dedicated to the mission of enhancing knowledge of critical barriers facing students and families throughout the educational pipeline. EPI also focuses on learning quality issues within higher education systems.​​​​​​​​