Financial Aid

Testimony
October, 2011
Reshma Patel, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes

This brief summarizes results from performance-based scholarship programs in Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio. These scholarships can move the dial on important markers of academic success for students, including credits attempted and earned and rates of full-time enrollment.

Report

Early Results of a Louisiana Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents Attending Community College

May, 2006
Thomas Brock, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes

Funded by state welfare dollars, two community colleges in the New Orleans area offered performance-based scholarships and enhanced counseling to low-income parents, as part of MDRC’s Opening Doors demonstration. These early findings show the program had significant positive effects on academic achievement and rates of retention.

Brief

An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

October, 2009
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Paulette Cha, Monica Cuevas, Amanda Grossman, Reshma Patel, Colleen Sommo

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.

Brief

A Synthesis of Findings from an Evaluation at Six Community Colleges

March, 2011
Susan Scrivener, Erin Coghlan

MDRC’s Opening Doors Demonstration, launched in 2003 with six community colleges, provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. This 12-page policy brief describes the strategies tested, discusses the results, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward.

Report

How Financial Aid Affects Nontraditional Students in Community Colleges

July, 2003
Victoria Choitz, Rebecca Widom

Examining federal, state, and institutional programs, the paper presents a framework for understanding challenges to securing comprehensive financial assistance for low-income working students.

Working Paper

Lessons from Research on Welfare Training Programs and Two Promising Community College Strategies

February, 2008
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes

This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, reviews what is known about education acquisition by low-wage workers and highlights promising strategies being tested at several community colleges.

Report

Lessons from the Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Emergency Financial Aid Programs

May, 2008
Christian Geckeler

For low-income students, education can be easily derailed by a temporary financial emergency, like the loss of a job or a car repair. This final report offers lessons from two programs created by Lumina Foundation for Education that provide emergency grants or loans to help students at risk of dropping out. Eleven community colleges participated in Dreamkeepers, and 26 tribal colleges or universities participated in Angel Fund.

Report

An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs

October, 2011
Heather Wathington, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Evan Weissman, Jedediah Teres, Joshua Pretlow, Aki Nakanishi

For entering college students with low basic skills, eight intensive summer programs provided accelerated instruction in math, reading, and/or writing; academic support; a “college knowledge” component; and the opportunity to receive a $400 stipend. Early results suggest that participants were more likely to pass entry-level college courses in math and writing.

Report

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration in Ohio

April, 2007
Susan Scrivener, Michael Pih

This report presents the early results from MDRC’s evaluation of the Opening Doors program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. The two-semester program offered intensive student advising services and a modest scholarship to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school and earn credentials.

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