• MDRC Publications

      Final Report on the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

      November, 2015
      Alexander Mayer, Reshma Patel, Timothy Rudd, Alyssa Ratledge

      Performance-based scholarships are designed to give students more money for college and to provide incentives for academic progress. This report analyzes data from rigorous evaluations of six different programs, in six states, with more than 12,000 students. The scholarship programs improved academic progress, including modest effects on degree completion.

      Interim Findings from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in California

      June, 2015
      Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Reshma Patel, Thomas Brock, Elijah de la Campa, Timothy Rudd, Ireri Valenzuela

      This report presents early findings from a random assignment evaluation of performance-based scholarships targeting college-bound high school seniors in California. The scholarships were completely portable, meaning that a student could use them at any accredited, degree-granting college or university.

      April, 2015
      Alexander Mayer, Reshma Patel, Melvin Gutierrez

      This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a community college program offering financial aid that is contingent on academic performance. Focusing on low-income parents, mostly mothers, it finds that the program decreased the time it took students to earn a degree but did not increase employment or earnings.

      Early Findings from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in Arizona

      October, 2013
      Reshma Patel, Ireri Valenzuela

      College graduation rates for Latino students, especially Latino male students, are lower than the national average. This report presents findings from a study of performance-based scholarships paired with a robust set of student services designed to help low-income Latino men succeed.

      Interim Findings from the PBS Demonstration

      August, 2013
      Reshma Patel, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Elijah de la Campa, Timothy Rudd

      Interim results suggest that performance-based scholarships improve students’ academic performance and increase the number of credits they earn. In some sites, the scholarships also appear to reduce student debt. In the one location for which data are available so far, the program increased the proportion of students earning a degree.

      Lessons from Two New York City Community Colleges

      November, 2012
      Reshma Patel, Timothy Rudd

      Can a scholarship without services improve academic progress? For adult developmental education students, this program encouraged more full-time enrollment during the semesters in which it operated and increased registration and credit accumulation in the summer semester, but it did not increase the average number of semesters registered or credits earned over two years.

      An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in California

      March, 2012
      Michelle Ware, Reshma Patel

      One of six sites in MDRC’s national demonstration, California’s program, run in partnership with Cash for College, is testing performance-based scholarships of differing amounts and durations that supplement existing aid and that students can use at any accredited postsecondary institution.

      Early Results from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in Ohio

      October, 2010
      Paulette Cha, Reshma Patel

      Low-income parents at three community colleges in Ohio were offered a cash incentive, contingent on meeting academic benchmarks, to enhance their progress in school. For the first cohort, the performance-based scholarship program increased full-time enrollment and the number of credits attempted and earned, while reducing educational debt.

      An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

      October, 2009

      This policy brief describes a demonstration launched by MDRC in four states in 2008 to evaluate whether performance-based scholarships — paid contingent on attaining academic benchmarks — are an effective way to improve persistence and academic success among low-income college students. The demonstration builds on positive results from an earlier MDRC study in Louisiana.

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