College Students

MDRC runs and evaluates programs to help college students — particularly, those in community colleges — complete their degrees and credentials and overcome barriers to academic success.

The Latest
Report

This study examines whether an alternative approach to distributing financial aid — in biweekly payments instead of one or two lump sums — can improve outcomes for low-income community college students. After one semester, the policy reduced students’ debt and use of federal loans but showed little consistent evidence of academic effects.

Issue Focus

Although most college students receive financial aid, many are left with unmet financial needs and may take on loans or drop out as a result. But promising innovations in financial aid could help students pay for college and accelerate their studies.

Key Documents
Testimony

Presented Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

On August 5, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on what research evidence suggests about the best ways to improve the academic success of low-income college students.

Report

What We Know About Improving Developmental Education

One of the greatest challenges that community colleges face in their efforts to increase graduation rates is improving the success of students in their developmental, or remedial, education programs. Emphasizing results from experimental and quasi-experimental studies, this literature review identifies the most promising approaches for revising the structure, curriculum, or delivery of developmental education and suggests areas for future innovations in developmental education practice and research.

Report

Three-Year Effects of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Students

The City University of New York’s comprehensive ASAP program nearly doubles the three-year graduation rate for developmental education students in community college – at a lower cost-per-degree than regular services. ASAP also increases rates of transfer to four-year colleges.