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.
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.
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.
Interim Findings from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in California
This report presents early findings from a random assignment evaluation of performance-based scholarships targeting college-bound high school seniors in California. The scholarships were completely portable, meaning that a student could use them at any accredited, degree-granting college or university.
This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a community college program offering financial aid that is contingent on academic performance. Focusing on low-income parents, mostly mothers, it finds that the program decreased the time it took students to earn a degree but did not increase employment or earnings.
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.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
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.