Financial Aid

While the U.S. has made strides in increasing college access among low-income students, college completion has remained low. Graduation rates are particularly stagnant among our nation’s community colleges, which enroll a large number of low-income and nontraditional college students. For example, only 20 percent of full-time, first-time...

Issue Focus

A Look at MDRC’s Research

March, 2016

How can financial aid be used to improve academic success for low-income college students? Evidence suggests that providing additional financial support to increase students’ enrollment intensity — either increasing the number of credits they take each semester or enrolling in courses during the summer — can boost credit accumulation and may help them complete degrees faster.

Brief
March, 2016
Richard Kazis

A growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing “career pathways” strategies to help youth and adults prepare for postsecondary education and quality jobs. This Issue Brief describes the career pathways approach and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on its effectiveness and potential to improve education and career outcomes.

Issue Focus

A Look at MDRC’s Research

January, 2016
Joshua Malbin

Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Issue Focus provides an overview of new research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.

Report

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.

Infographic

A Program That Almost Doubles Three-Year Graduation Rates

October, 2015

This infographic explains the City University of New York’s innovative ASAP program and the problems it addresses, summarizes MDRC’s study findings, and depicts the timeline for a replication effort at three Ohio community colleges.

Testimony

Submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

September, 2015
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes

Following up on testimony delivered before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on August 5, 2015, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes submitted additional information on opportunities for innovation in financial aid and student support services in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Testimony

Testimony Submitted to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance

September, 2015
Alexander Mayer, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, John Diamond

This testimony presented by MDRC’s Alex Mayer to the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance identifies several areas as being worthy of innovation paired with rigorous evaluation, including year-round financial aid, Federal Work-Study, and “satisfactory academic progress” in the Pell Grant program.

Report

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.

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