Financial Incentives

Issue Focus
May, 2020

Students navigating the COVID-19 pandemic are facing new practical and financial concerns about continuing their studies. Colleges can encourage continued enrollment and boost student success by sending well-designed messages that address those concerns, simplify information, and offer support. This Issue Focus highlights proven strategies for communicating effectively.

Report

Introducing the MyGoals Demonstration

May, 2020

The MyGoals for Employment Success demonstration uses executive skills coaching to help participants with emotional control, stress tolerance, time management, organization, flexibility, and persistence, which are vital to success in the workplace. Research showing that poverty causes stress and impedes these skills informs the approach of this pilot program.

Report

Evaluating the Effects of Santa Clara County Housing Authority’s Rent Reform

April, 2020

Amid a budget crunch, the Santa Clara Housing Authority reduced its subsidies to low-income renters in 2013. This retrospective study shows that the decrease did not affect average employment and earnings over the next four years, as some economic theories might have predicted.

Issue Focus
May, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the nation’s awareness of the critical role that low-wage workers — cashiers, nursing assistants, delivery people — play in our lives. MDRC’s Cynthia Miller summarizes research about how expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit can effectively supplement their earnings and lead to other positive benefits for them and their families.

Issue Focus

Providing Remote Support Services to College Students

April, 2020

SUCCESS, a comprehensive coaching program designed to improve college graduation rates among low-income students, has quickly transitioned during the pandemic. It is offering virtual advising appointments, adapting meeting topics to include tips for distance learning, and connecting students with local resources including food, health care, and emergency financial aid.

Report

Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment

April, 2020
Camielle Headlam, Benjamin Cohen, Kayla Reiman

The EASE project demonstrates that it is possible to increase enrollment in summer courses and help students earn more credits using an informational campaign that incorporates behavioral science principles and tuition-assistance grants. Use this handbook to customize and implement your own summer enrollment informational campaign.

Report

Interim Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in Atlanta

March, 2020
Cynthia Miller, Lawrence F. Katz, Edith Yang, Alexandra Bernardi, Adam Isen, Kali Aloisi

The Earned Income Tax Credit reduces poverty for many low-income families but does little for workers without dependent children. Paycheck Plus, being tested in New York City and Atlanta, offers an expanded credit to this population. This report presents its two-year impacts on employment, earnings, and income in Atlanta.

Issue Focus

The College Promise Success Initiative

January, 2020
Marco Lepe, Evan Weissman

More than 300 College Promise Programs nationwide are transforming perceptions about college affordability and access while increasing rates of enrollment and completion. Participants in MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative (CPSI) share their insights on effectively designing College Promise programs that make equity a central principle in serving students.

Report

Ongoing Implementation Experiences

November, 2019
Nandita Verma, Betsy L. Tessler, David H. Greenberg, Edith Yang, Sophia Sutcliffe, Michael D. Webb, William M. Rohe, Atticus Jaramillo, Amy T. Khare, Emily K. Miller, Mark L. Joseph

Households receiving federal rental subsidies struggle to become self-sufficient. Jobs Plus provides grants to public housing agencies to offer tenants employment-related services, rent-based work incentives, and community support for work. This report examines a second round of Jobs Plus implementation, including evolving program operations, challenges, resident participation, and technical assistance.

Report
August, 2019

This report presents 27- to 30-month impacts of an alternative rent policy for housing voucher recipients in four locations. Voucher program tenure and monthly housing subsidies increased for recipients, and housing agencies’ administrative burdens decreased. Average earnings did not rise overall, but earnings increased in two locations and employment increased in one.

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