Financial Incentives

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.

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 Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

January, 2016

SaveUSA encourages low- and moderate-income people to set aside money from their tax refund for savings by awarding a 50 percent match to successful savers. After 42 months, the program had sustained its earlier effects, increasing both the percentage of individuals with nonretirement savings and the average amount of savings.

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.

Report

Implementation Lessons from San Antonio and the Bronx

October, 2015
David M. Greenberg, Aurelia De La Rosa Aceves, M. Victoria Quiroz-Becerra, David H. Greenberg, Ari Oppenheim

Jobs-Plus was designed to raise and sustain the employment and earnings of residents of public housing developments. This report investigates how Jobs-Plus was replicated in more contemporary settings, analyzing the early implementation experiences of a community-based provider in the Bronx, NY, and the San Antonio Housing Authority in Texas.

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.

Issue Focus

MDRC’s Projects in Math for Low-Income Students, from Preschool to College

June, 2015

In our increasingly technological world, developing basic math skills is crucial. What can be done to promote more effective math education? This two-page issue focus describes a number of MDRC projects — from preschool to postsecondary education — that seek to improve the performance of low-income students in math.

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