Transferring to a four-year institution is an important pathway to student success. Many students who enroll in community college intend to transfer to a four-year institution and subsequently earn a bachelor’s degree. However, few students ultimately do, with low-income students transferring at lower rates than their peers. The Texas Transfer Grant Pilot Program was created by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to improve the transfer rates of students from two-year to four-year institutions in Texas. The pilot program offered $5,000 grants to community college students who performed well academically, came from low-income backgrounds, and transferred to a public four-year institution. MDRC’s evaluation of the program, conducted in partnership with the THECB, used Texas statewide administrative data to identify and randomly assign about 90,000 eligible students. Students were assigned to either a program group (whose members were notified they were eligible to receive the grant for the fall 2022 semester) or a control group (whose members did not receive a Texas Transfer Grant offer but who could seek business-as-usual financial aid resources). Students assigned to the program group were informed of the opportunity to receive a grant via email and hard-copy letters.
This brief answers the following two primary questions:
- Does offering the Texas Transfer Grant to community college students affect their enrollment rates at four-year higher education institutions in Texas?
- What do community college students think—and how do they feel—about the Texas Transfer Grant offer, particularly with respect to their decision to transfer to a four-year institution?
Although additional research is needed to fully understand the impact of the grant offer, early findings indicate that the pilot program increased the proportion of students who enrolled in Texas public four-year institutions.