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During the 1986-87 school year, the University of Nebraska at Omaha/Omaha Public Schools (UNO/OPS) Liaison Committee requested a study to determine how high school graduates from the Omaha Public Schools were progressing in their college careers at UNO. The author was asked to work with Paul Malcom of the Research Department of Omaha Public Schools to determine how the study might be conducted. Possible research questions were shared with the committee. The author met with Malcom to obtain lists of names of high school graduates.

Earlier, OPS conducted a survey of its high school graduates and developed a list of high schools graduates who reported attending UNO. More than one-third of the names listed as attending UNO were not found in UNO records. Of the one-third missing from UNO records, half had arranged to send American College Test (ACT) scores to UNO, although they had not registered for classes. Apparently, some students who intended to go to UNO decided to work for a period of time before they registered at the university. (The follow-up study with its self-reporting procedures presented too many problems, and was not used in this study.)