From performance-based scholarships to financial aid education to emergency funding, MDRC is looking at ways to help low-income students stay in school and complete their studies while balancing academic, family, and employment demands.

The Latest
Report

This study, implemented at two community college systems in Texas and one in California, tested whether biweekly disbursements of financial aid rather than lump sum payments could help students budget more efficiently and improve their academic and financial outcomes. Overall, this approach did not have substantial impacts on student outcomes.

Report

The Detroit Promise allows the city’s high school graduates to attend local colleges tuition-free. To that scholarship the Detroit Promise Path adds campus coaches, monthly financial support, enhanced summer engagement, and messages informed by behavioral science. Interim findings about persistence in school, full-time enrollment, and credit accumulation are all positive.

Key Documents
Issue Focus

Evidence from Three Studies

Results from three random assignment studies at New York City community colleges suggest that year-round financial aid can increase enrollment during the summer and winter sessions — and that summer and winter enrollment can help students earn more credits.

Issue Focus

MDRC’s Aid Like A Paycheck evaluation is testing whether the distribution of financial aid to students in biweekly payments over the course of a term — like a paycheck — can improve academic and financial outcomes for low-income community college students. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the project.

Issue Focus

A Look at MDRC’s Research

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.