Elif Asli Yucel

  • 2019


Research Assistant

Research Concentration

  • Higher Education

Research Interest

College access for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students; school-prison-college nexus; community college transfer; developmental education
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Elif Asli Yucel

Contact Information


  • Tatiana Melguizo

Research Center


Elif Yücel is doctoral candidate in the Urban Education Policy program in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Elif’s research focuses on higher education, namely around equity issues affecting access and opportunity in community colleges. She is a mixed methods aspiring researcher, although her work has primarily used qualitative data collection and analysis methods. Her research has examined transfer policies, developmental education, and college access for students impacted by the legal system. Her dissertation research focuses on reentry programs on college campuses across California. 

Elif also works on ongoing projects focused on the implementation and impact of developmental education policies in California, including a longitudinal examination of the implementation of AB705—a bill passed in 2017 designed to end the racialized practice of developmental education in California community colleges, a statewide analysis of corequisite math supports in California community colleges, and an intervention designed to assist STEM-interested students in accessing and leveraging support services on campus to increase enrollment into BSTEM math courses.

She has also worked on the Texas Transfer Project, a six-year, longitudinal study examining transfer in Texas. She has published two papers on this work, including an analysis of students’ sensemaking of transfer policies and a longitudinal analysis of how students rely on their social networks throughout the transfer process.

Elif’s has received over $14,000 in grants to support her research on community college reentry programs. She has presented at numerous conferences over the years, including CSCC, AERA, ASA, and ASHE. Her research has been published in American Educational Research Journal, Review of Higher Education, Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity, and the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice.

Elif earned her BA in Chinese from Trinity University and M.Ed. in Education Policy and Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. She has volunteered for the Texas Prison Education Initiative and Prison Education Program throughout her master’s and doctoral programs, respectively, where she has taught in juvenile and adult correctional facilities. As a system-impacted student, Elif’s work both inside and outside the classroom prioritizes advocating for individuals and families impacted by the legal system. In her free time, Elif enjoys reading, following way too many sports, experimenting with new baking recipes, and watching Real Housewives (all franchises and spinoffs). She is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club and all Dallas sports teams. On any given week, you can find her frequenting her local Popeyes, indulging in fried chicken (spicy) and Cajun fries.

Awards and Grants

NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Semi-Finalist                                                                2023

CSCC Outstanding Graduate Student Award                                                                              2023

Paul P. Fidler Research Grant Top 5 Finalist                                                                               2021

Just Education Policy Institute Fellow                                                                                         2021

AEI Education Policy Academy Cohort                                                                                      2019