Higher Education

For low-income people, community colleges offer an important pathway out of poverty and into better jobs. But a host of factors, including inadequate financial aid or student services and poor developmental classes, can keep them from enrolling in and completing postsecondary education. For a summary of MDRC’s findings in higher education, check out Lessons from MDRC’s Postsecondary Research.

Issue Focus

Financial aid reduces dropout rates, yet college students are unaware of many financial resources available to them. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act requires colleges to tell students they can apply for more aid. These evidence-based strategies can help schools create effective messages about aid to get positive responses.

Issue Focus

Lessons from Growth Sector’s STEM Core Program

Millions of community college students, particularly students of color and women, don’t complete the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses critical to succeeding in the modern economy. This brief examines one program that combines increased academic support, out-of-classroom activities, accelerated coursework, and other components to help improve student outcomes.


What Colleges Need to Know About Multiple Measures Assessments

Colleges often use standardized testing to determine whether incoming students need developmental courses. But those tests do not predict students’ college readiness accurately. This brief explains how the use of alternative multiple measures can improve placement decisions, increase college-level course pass rates, and boost progress toward graduation.