A college degree remains critical to unlocking opportunity and to accessing America’s middle class, yet millions of students who pursue higher education never earn degrees. This memo, produced with Results for America, draws lessons and policy implications from two decades of rigorous research in postsecondary institutions focused on addressing this problem.
Lessons from Two Decades of Research and Technical Assistance
Colleges support students with academic and other types of advising, counseling, or coaching. Some schools enhance those services by reducing adviser caseloads and providing more comprehensive, frequent guidance, which can improve students’ semester-to-semester retention and average credits earned. This brief describes important lessons on designing and implementing those services.
Early Implementation Findings from a Study of the Male Student Success Initiative
Men of color complete college at lower rates than their fellow students. To help overcome this gap, many colleges have programs offering academic and social support to male students of color. This report summarizes MDRC’s evaluation of one such program at the Community College of Baltimore County.
In this commentary, originally published in Community College Daily, President Marcia Ballinger of Lorain County Community College describes how Lorain’s comprehensive student success program, SAIL, has persevered during the pandemic — and offered lessons for school’s overall response to COVID-19.
What States and Colleges Need to Know
Colleges, researchers, and advocates believe innovation and change are needed in developmental (remedial) education, because developmental courses have low success rates and because many of their students ultimately drop out. This brief summarizes research on developmental education and provides summaries of findings and implications for state and college practices.
Career and Technical Education Connects the Dots
The economic recession triggered by the global pandemic has magnified the need for high-quality programs that can help students acquire the skills, training, and postsecondary credentials they need to thrive in the workplace. Here are some programs that studies show improved academic outcomes and increased earnings.
In this commentary, which originally appeared in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, MDRC’s Alex Mayer and Alyssa Ratledge describe evidence-backed strategies that colleges can employ this fall to help students stay engaged.
Many schools are using technology-based tools to generate career recommendations and supplement the capabilities of their guidance departments. MDRC has partnered with two technology companies to test whether their career-advising software programs are viable tools for equitably supporting students as they identify and pursue future careers.
This paper summarizes ASAP’s long-term effects and the educational investment in students associated with its services. The program helped students graduate faster, boosted graduation rates by 30 percent, and increased the financial aid students received.
Higher Achievement, which serves fifth- through eighth-graders, is an effective after-school and summer program that improved middle school students’ math and reading test scores and the academic quality of many students’ high schools. These short-term gains did not translate into impacts on the types of colleges that students attended.