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.
Early Impacts of the Grameen America Program
Grameen America provides loans to low-income women who are seeking to start or expand their small businesses. Early results from a random assignment evaluation show that Grameen participants are more likely to operate their own businesses and to establish credit scores and less likely to experience material hardship.
Two Proven Strategies to Boost Summer Enrollment
Summer courses can help students progress to graduation, but most students do not enroll in them. An informational campaign incorporating behavioral science, tested with and without tuition assistance, increased summer enrollment. This brief presents findings from the Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) project following the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants.
Using Behavioral Science to Encourage Postsecondary Summer Enrollment
Community college students who enroll in summer courses are more likely to graduate, but most do not attend during the summer. The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) project uses insights from behavioral science to encourage more students to enroll in summer. This brief presents EASE’s Phase I findings.
Lessons from the BIAS Project
The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project launched an intervention in California to engage families in a welfare-to-work program and another intervention in New York to encourage low-income single adults without dependent children to attend a meeting about an earnings supplement program intended to provide an incentive to work.
Final Results from the Family Self-Sufficiency Study in New York City
FSS provides case management services and a long-term escrow-savings account to housing-assisted families; an enhanced version also offered short-term cash work incentives. Six-year results of the random assignment evaluation show few significant effects overall for either program. However, the enhanced program increased employment and earnings for participants not working at enrollment.
Findings from Family Rewards 2.0
A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.
A Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities
This program spent a little over a dollar to transfer one dollar in cash rewards to families who met the required benchmarks. These rewards produced positive effects on some outcomes, but left others unchanged. While the program benefited participating families, the cost to taxpayers exceeded the economic value of these effects.
What Worked, What Didn’t
Family Rewards offered cash incentives to low-income families to reduce both current and longer-term poverty, contingent on families’ efforts to build up their “human capital” through children’s education, preventive health care, and parents’ employment. While the program produced some positive effects on some outcomes, it left many outcomes unchanged.
Final Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation
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.