In this commentary, originally published in The Hill, MDRC’s Alyssa Ratledge highlights the value of postsecondary institutions in rural communities and describes innovations that rural colleges have developed during the pandemic that could be expanded with more support.
Lessons from the CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
This brief summarizes recent findings about the rollout of the federal emergency aid program for higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers recommendations and resources for policymakers and practitioners interested in developing or implementing future programs in a time of national crisis as well as in more stable times.
Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ( CARES ) Act of 2020, Congress created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ( HEERF ) as the first-ever federal emergency aid program in higher education.
MDRC , in collaboration with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in...
Financial aid reduces dropout rates, yet college students are unaware of many financial resources available to them. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act requires colleges to tell students they can apply for more aid. These evidence-based strategies can help schools create effective messages about aid to get positive responses.
Scaling Up Postsecondary Student Success Strategies
Minnesota’s two-year project to improve student success and degree attainment focused on improved course placement methods, communications about satisfactory academic progress and policies, and comprehensive student support programs. A major lesson in this brief: Programs that show significant results must be implemented widely to change student outcomes meaningfully.
MDRC ’s Applying the Evidence project is a partnership with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (Minnesota State) to expand the implementation of evidence-based student success strategies across the Minnesota State system, which currently includes 30 community colleges and seven universities.
In partnership with system-level leaders from...
In this commentary, originally published in Community College Daily, MDRC’s Alyssa Ratledge draws on years of research to make the case for the importance of adding robust support services to free tuition programs at community colleges.
A Synthesis of Post-Program Effects in Higher Education
Some education programs’ early positive effects disappear over time, while other programs have unanticipated positive long-term effects. This Issue Focus introduces The Higher Education Randomized Controlled Trials, an examination of program effects after a postsecondary education program ends, using a database drawn from 31 MDRC projects, sampling 67,400 students.
Three Years of the Detroit Promise Path Program for Community College Students
This program combines a tuition-free scholarship with additional forms of support, such as a campus coach and personalized communications, to keep students on track to graduate. A three-year evaluation shows that the program helped students stay enrolled in school and earn more credits, but had no impact on degrees earned.
MDRC ’s On the Path to a Degree project (OnPath) seeks to improve student persistence and success at community colleges through evidence-based messaging strategies. Through OnPath, MDRC will collaborate with five community colleges in New Jersey and five two-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities to design and develop student outreach campaigns that...