Hartford Promise Students Find Different Success Rates at CT Auto-Admit Colleges

Will Scannell

Last updated on December 4, 2023

for Data Visualization for All
with Prof. Jack Dougherty
Trinity College, Hartford CT, USA


Hartford Promise is a scholarship fund organization that helps to connect Hartford students with colleges at which they can succeed. There are a variety of different universities that students from Hartford Promise have historically attended throughout the state of Connecticut. Some of these Universities Participate in the Connecticut Automatic Admissions Program (CAAP) in which students who meet a set of basic requirements are automatically admitted to participating universities.

There are a variety of both public and private institutions throughout Connecticut that qualifying seniors can attend through the CAAP program:

Central Connecticut State University (Public)

Eastern Connecticut State University (Public)

Southern Connecticut State University (Public)

Western Connecticut State University (Public)

Goodwin University (Private)

Mitchell College (Private)

University of Bridgeport (Private)

University of New Haven (Private)

University of Saint Joseph (Private)

The CAAP program is an enticing offer for Connecticut high school seniors when choosing the school that they would like to attend. Mainly, it is the accessibility granted to applying to universities around that is the benefit to the CAAP program. The high school senior would only need to meet two qualifications: being a current Connecticut high school senior who is on track to graduate and to be in the top 30% academically of their graduating class. With no need to go through extensive application processes and pay large application fees that are often individualized to each school, qualifying seniors can attend any of the nine participating universities.

While the CAAP program allows students—especially those who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds—to apply to college with significantly lower barriers to entry, it is how well these students do at these institutions that is of significance to organizations like Hartford Promise. One reason for this is because organizations like Hartford Promise need to know which schools are best for the youth that they are funding. This allows them to guide their scholars toward the correct direction when choosing the best school for them. By analyzing the recently updated data from Hartford Promise on the performance of their scholars in prior semesters, it is possible to dive deeper into the fact that students may be more likely to succeed at some CAAP schools over others.


When assessing outcomes for Hartford Promise students who attend these CAAP institutions, it is important to define what success looks like. In using the data given by Hartford Promise, success is most clearly defined when a student receives a Bachelor’s degree. This is because it shows that a student attended one (or perhaps multiple) institution in which they completed academic milestones in order to study what they are interested in. This benchmark of success was then contextualized in the number of students enrolled at any of the nine CAAP institutions. By dividing the number of Bachelor degree earners at each institution by the total number of Hartford Promise students enrolled at that institution, there was a resulting completion rate that allowed for clearer comparison between the past outcomes of the scholars at CAAP institutions:

(# of BA Earners/# of Hartford Promise Students Enrolled at Any Time)

General finings show that the average completion rate for the nine CAAP institutions was approximately 32% overall. This was calculated by dividing the sum of Hartford Promise bachelor degree earners at all of the institutions by the sum of Hartford Promise students enrolled at any time at these institutions. Using the same method of calculation, the completion rates for public and private CAAP institutions could be compared. The average completion rate for public CAAP institutions was approximately 41% and 19% for private institutions.

While creating pivot tables to find these numbers, it started to becomebecame clear that not all of the nine CAAP institutions would be usable to assess outcomes for Hartford Promise students. One institution, Mitchell College, did not have data for any past Hartford Promise Students attending. As such, it was not possible to calculate the completion rate at that college. In addition, other institutions like Western Connecticut State University, University of Bridgeport, and University of New Haven each had only one instance of a Hartford Promise student enrolling at any time throughout their higher education path. In addition, none of these three students went on to achieve a Bachelor’s degree at any of the three institutions. As such, the sample size from these four universities would not be significant enough to consider them for comparison.

However, the other institutions with larger sample sizes could be compared in terms of their success rates:

A bar chart within a table made the most sense when visually displaying the data because it most clearly illustrates the differences in the percentages of Hartford promise students who completed a Bachelor’s degree at these particular CAAP institutions. The chart was placed within a table because it most clearly shows the raw data at these CAAP institutions; this helps to contextualize the percentages. At 63%, Southern Connecticut State University has the highest completion rate amongst these schools. On the lower end, although Goodwin University had the second highest number of enrolled Hartford Promise students (21 students), there were no instances of any student completing a Bachelor’s degree at the school. The data shows that Hartford Promise students do not stay at Goodwin University multiple semesters.

Another important aspect of Hartford Promise students attending CAAP universities is how they compare with the other students at these schools. By using College Scorecard, it is possible to start to make these comparisons. In terms of completion rate based upon enrollment and earning a bachelor’s degree, College Scorecard does not provide the matching to completely mimic the completion rates extrapolated from the Hartford Promise. However, College Scorecard does provide a “graduation rate” of students who enrolled in a university and were able to graduate with a degree (the type of degree was not specified). By comparing the Hartford Promise completion rates to College Scorecard’s graduation rates, there are noticeable gaps between the general student body and Hartford Promise scholars.

The comparison between these rates was done by using a range chart. This type of chart mostly clearly illustrated the gaps between the general body and Hartford Promise students at these schools:

The data from this range chart is sorted by the size of the gaps (from largest to smallest) in completion rate between Hartford Promise students and the general student population. The results illustrate that—aside from the Southern Connecticut State University—Hartford Promise students have typically had lower completion rates than the rest of their peers at these CAAP institutions. As expected, Goodwin University had the largest completion rate gap (43%) between Hartford Promise students and the general student population; Southern Connecticut State University had the smallest completion rate gap (9%). Another notable finding is that there is no pattern of signifagnce of the gaps in completion rates between the three public and two private qualifying schools.


While Hartford Promise provided individual de-identified data, we promised not to share the raw data with the public to ensure privacy. Other researchers who wish to examine the raw data should request it directly from HP.

Works Cited:

College Scorecard | College Scorecard. U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

CSCU - Automatic Admission Program. https://www.ct.edu/autoadmit. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

“Home.” HARTFORD PROMISE, https://www.hartfordpromise.org/. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.