In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs to discuss questions of equity. This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them.
The Early Implementation of College Promise Programs
College Promise programs offer scholarships for up to 100 percent of tuition and fees. Many Promise programs are adding to their models by providing students with support services. MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative (CPSI) works with Promise programs interested in including such services; this brief provides some early implementation lessons.
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.
Two-Year Findings from the ASAP Ohio Demonstration
The highly successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), developed by the City University of New York, has been shown to nearly double graduation rates after three years. This brief presents results after two years from a replication of ASAP at three community colleges in Ohio.
A Case Study of Lorain County Community College’s Comprehensive Student Success Program
In 2014, Lorain County Community College launched Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL), a comprehensive student success program that is substantially improving persistence and graduation rates among low-income students. This brief describes the steps Lorain took to fund and institutionalize SAIL that are now making it easier to sustain the program.
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.
Three-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration
WorkAdvance offers training and placement services to help prepare individuals for quality jobs in sectors that have strong local demand and advancement opportunities. In this update on employment and earnings only, the most experienced provider continued to produce substantial impacts on both; one other provider increased earnings for late enrollees.
This document compares two approaches to improving community college outcomes — CUNY ASAP, a specific program model, and guided pathways, a framework for institutional reform — and discusses how they might be integrated to improve structure, coherence, and support for students.
Lessons for Practitioners
The demonstration of WorkAdvance confirmed that sectoral employment programs can increase employment and earnings among low-income individuals. This brief offers insights from providers on selecting sectors, tailoring training to employer needs, reducing attrition, securing placements that offer better wages and benefits, and helping workers plan for advancement.
Early Findings from a Demonstration in Three Community Colleges
CUNY ASAP has proved exceptionally effective at increasing community college graduation rates. This demonstration tests the viability and effects of programs modeled on ASAP in different types of colleges, including those serving many nontraditional students. Early findings show increases in full-time enrollment, credits earned, and persistence into the second semester.