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: McBee Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia, 2016-2017
Office: 223E Peabody Hall

Curriculum Vitae (CV)


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

Billings, M. S., Clayton, A. B., & Worsham, R. E. (2022). FAFSA and beyond: How advisers reduce burdens in the financial aid process. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 51(2), 1–21. 

Clayton, A. B., Worsham, R. E., & *Reavis, G. (2022). Summer melt and delayed enrollment: Unpacking high school seniors’ college intentions and later decisions. Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 34(1), 61–78. 

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. 

Worsham, R. E., Clayton, A. B., & Gayles, J. G. (2021). Exploring rural engineering students’ college choice process at two land-grant universities. The Rural Educator, 42(3), 28–44. 

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. 

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), 1401–1429. 

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. 

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), 543–569. 

Selected Presentations

Clayton, A. B., Breeden, R. L., & Davis, T. J. (2022, April). “My entire support system for graduate school”: Black students’ experiences in a McNair scholars program [Paper presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

Clayton, A. B., Cutler White, C., Sublett, C., Blaney, J., Felix, E., & Grote, D. (2022, April). Expanding community college opportunities: Access, transfer, and completion [Panel]. Annual Conference of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges, Tempe, AZ.

Clayton, A. B., Freeman, H., Gonzales, C., Gros, K., Mills, D., Simon, D., & Simon, L. (2022, March). Applications, admissions, and assistance: Promoting college access through service-learning [Panel]. Gulf-South Summit.

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 presentation]. 46th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

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 presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

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


ASHE/Ascendium Fellow & Research Team Member (2022)
Nevada Insitute, Association for the Study of Higher Education

Rising Faculty Research Award (2022)
Alumni Association, Louisiana State University

Non-Tenured Faculty Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2020)
Phi Kappa Phi, Louisiana State University


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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