Photo of Dr. Ashley Clayton

Ashley Clayton

Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Assistant Professor

Bachelor's Degree: Interior Design, Virginia Tech, 2005
Master's Degree: Higher Education Administration, Florida International University, 2009
PhD: Educational Research and Policy Analysis (Higher Education), North Carolina State University, 2016
Post Doctorate:  Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia, 2016-2017
Office: 223E Peabody Hall



Ashley B. Clayton, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Louisiana State University.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and her master’s degree from Florida International University. Dr. Clayton earned her PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis (Higher Education) at North Carolina State University and completed her postdoctoral appointment at the University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education. Prior to becoming a faculty member, she worked in undergraduate admissions and TRIO Upward Bound.

Dr. Clayton’s research agenda broadly focuses on practices and policies that address postsecondary access, equity, and success. Her work often examines postsecondary outcomes for underserved student populations, including first-generation college students, low-income students, rural students, and Students of Color. Several of her research projects examine college access interventions, college advising, K-16 pathways, and the postsecondary experiences of underrepresented students. A central tenet of her research agenda is a commitment to scholarship that focuses on equity and diversity. 

Selected Publications

Smith, M. M., &  Clayton, A. B. (2021). An open-admissions summer bridge program: The impact on first-year student success. Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 33(1), 75-97. 

Toutkoushian, R. K., *May-Trifiletti, J. A., &  Clayton, A. B. (2021). From “first in family” to “first to finish”: Does college graduation vary by how first-generation college status is defined? Educational Policy, 35(3), 481-521. 

Clayton, A. B., & Umbach, P. D. (2020). Making it free and easy: Exploring the effects of North Carolina College Application Week on college access. The Review of Higher Education, 44(1), 87-119. doi:10.1353/rhe.2020.0036  

Godfrey, J. F., Brown, A. M., Hubbard, R. E., &  Clayton, A. B. (2020). Posh pipeline: Gaining college admission at any cost. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 23(4), 139-150. 

Umbach, P. D.,  Clayton, A. B., & Smith, K. N. (2020). Developmental education’s effect on graduation and labor market outcomes. Journal of Developmental Education, 43(2), 10-17. 

Whatley, M. E., &  Clayton, A. B. (2020). Study abroad for low-income students: The relationship between need-based aid and access to education abroad. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 49(2), 1-27.  

Clayton, A. B. (2019). Helping students navigate the college choice process: The experiences and practices of college advising professionals in public high schools. The Review of Higher Education, 42(4), 1401 142. 

Clayton, A. B., & Peters, B. A. (2019). The desegregation of land-grant institutions in the 1950s: The first African American students at NC State University and Virginia Tech. The Journal of Negro Education, 88(1), 75-92.  

Umbach, P. D., Tuchmayer, J. B., Clayton, A. B., & Smith, K. N. (2019). Transfer student success: Exploring community college, university, and individual predictors. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 43(9), 599-617. 

Means, D. R., Clayton, A. B., Conzelmann, J. G., Baynes, P., & Umbach, P. D. (2016). Bounded aspirations: Rural, African American high school students and college access. The Review of Higher Education, 39(4), 543-56. https://doi:10.1353/rhe.2016.00359   

Selected Presentations

May-Trifiletti, J. A., Toutkoushian, R. K., & Clayton, A. B. (2021, November). Unpacking definitions of “first-generation college student” and their outcomes: Differences between one- and two-parent families. Poster will be presented at the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (virtual). 

Clayton, A. B., & Campbell, E. (2021, October). Postsecondary access without a high school diploma: Lessons from the Louisiana’s five for six scholarship. Paper will be presented at the Annual Conference of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, Miramar Beach, FL.  

Clayton, A. B., Tevis, T. L., Davis, R. D., & McClay, L. P. (2021, April). Desire for diversity: Exploring Black students' expectations and first-year experiences at a predominantly white institution. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (virtual). 

Billings, M.S., Clayton, A. B., & Worsham, R. (2020, November). How to pay for college? Reducing burdens in the financial aid process for underserved students. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (virtual). 

Clayton, A. B., McClay, L. P., & Davis, R. D. (2020, April). Considering both HBCU and PWI options: Exploring the college choice process of first-year black students. Paper will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. 

Selected Grants/Funded Projects

Institutional Agents: Exploring High School Counselors’ College Knowledge in California Title I Schools:  
Founder: The Spencer Foundation 
Grant amount: $49,983 
Role: Co-PI 
Time of Service: 2020-2021
Exploring the College Choice Process, Transition, and Overall Experiences of Black Students at HBCUs and PWIs  
Founder: Dean’s Circle Grant Program, College of Human Sciences and Education, Louisiana State University 
Grant amount: $5,000 
Role: PI 
Time of Service: 2019-2020 


Editorial Review Board Member

  • Innovative Higher Education (2022-2024)
  • Journal of First-Generation Student Success (2020-2023)
  • Journal of First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (2018-2023)


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