MDRC’s initiative Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) seeks to improve graduation rates for community college students by helping states and colleges develop large-scale, financially sustainable support programs based on strong evidence. This issue focus provides an overview of the project.
Final Report on the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration
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.
Results from a Performance-Based Scholarship Experiment
This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a program at The University of New Mexico offering low-income first-year students enhanced academic advising and financial aid that is contingent on performance. It finds that the program increased credit hour accumulation during the first two years and graduation rates after five years.
Performance-Based Scholarships, Student Services, and Developmental Math at Hillsborough Community College
This program provides an incentive for developmental math students to take their math courses early and consecutively, get help in an on-campus Math Lab, and strive for passing grades or better, in exchange for a modest performance-based scholarship. Compared with standard services, the program’s effects are modest but positive.
Seven Years Later
This paper presents the long-term effects of a learning communities program. The program’s positive effect on credit accumulation was maintained for seven years, and there is some evidence that graduation rates increased. Economic outcomes are examined, and sobering reflections on detecting effects on economic outcomes in higher education interventions are presented.
A Technical Assistance Guide for Developing and Implementing Performance-Based Scholarships
Drawing on the findings and experiences of two research demonstrations that tested the effectiveness of performance-based scholarships, this guide provides helpful information for colleges and scholarship-granting organizations on this type of aid, which can reduce the financial burden on low-income students while offering incentives for good academic progress.
Early Findings from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in Arizona
College graduation rates for Latino students, especially Latino male students, are lower than the national average. This report presents findings from a study of performance-based scholarships paired with a robust set of student services designed to help low-income Latino men succeed.
Interim Findings from the PBS Demonstration
Interim results suggest that performance-based scholarships improve students’ academic performance and increase the number of credits they earn. In some sites, the scholarships also appear to reduce student debt. In the one location for which data are available so far, the program increased the proportion of students earning a degree.
Six-Year Effects of a Freshman Learning Community Program at Kingsborough Community College
Students who participated in a one-semester learning community, in which small groups of student took three linked classes together and received other extra services, were more likely to have graduated six years later. The program also proved to be cost-effective.
Four-Year Findings from Chaffey College’s Opening Doors Program
This program included a “College Success” course and offered enhanced counseling. A change from optional to required services led to increased program participation, and the new program decreased the percentage on academic probation after the two program semesters. Nevertheless, after four years, the program had no discernible effect on academic outcomes.