For The Higher Education Randomized Controlled Trial project (THE-RCT), MDRC is creating the largest individual-participant database from higher education randomized controlled trials to date. THE-RCT will make standardized, deidentified data from more than 20 studies covering 50 institutions of higher education and 50,000 students available to qualified researchers. This database will serve as a resource to explore questions such as:
Which program features/components (for example, enhanced advising or increased financial support) are associated with larger improvements in student success?
Once a program is over, what happens to student success? Are gains maintained? Do they fade out? Do they grow?
What sized improvements in student success can various higher education programs reasonably expect to achieve?
Ultimately, MDRC hopes that this database will inspire new scholarship on these and other topics that will help improve outcomes for low-income, underrepresented, and underprepared students, who have long been a focus of MDRC’s higher education studies.
The database will be hosted by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Documentation on the database, including information on each of the studies included in it, will be available at ICPSR and on MDRC’s website. MDRC plans to continue to add to the database as it conducts additional randomized controlled trials in higher education, making it a more useful resource over time.