Evan Weissman
Senior Associate, Postsecondary Education

Weissman has over 20 years of experience at MDRC directing projects, providing technical assistance, conducting qualitative research, and disseminating findings in a wide range of education and social policy settings. His current work is primarily in postsecondary education, illuminating ways to improve college access, persistence, and success for low-income and underprepared students. Weissman’s current and recent projects focus on financial aid reform, improving students’ employability skills, strengthening student success services, and improving offerings for students assessed as needing developmental (remedial) education. Weissman has also provided technical assistance, designed and launched evaluations, and conducted qualitative research in a range of other social policy areas, including early childhood education, maternal and infant well-being, job training and parenting programs for noncustodial parents, public housing, and welfare employment programs.

  • MDRC Publications


      Lessons from the CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

      July, 2021
      Julia Schmidt, Evan Weissman

      This brief summarizes recent findings about the rollout of the federal emergency aid program for higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers recommendations and resources for policymakers and practitioners interested in developing or implementing future programs in a time of national crisis as well as in more stable times.

      Issue Focus

      The College Promise Success Initiative

      January, 2020
      Marco Lepe, Evan Weissman

      More than 300 College Promise Programs nationwide are transforming perceptions about college affordability and access while increasing rates of enrollment and completion. Participants in MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative (CPSI) share their insights on effectively designing College Promise programs that make equity a central principle in serving students.


      Final Report on Aid Like A Paycheck

      May, 2019

      This study, implemented at two community college systems in Texas and one in California, tested whether biweekly disbursements of financial aid rather than lump sum payments could help students budget more efficiently and improve their academic and financial outcomes. Overall, this approach did not have substantial impacts on student outcomes.


      Interim Findings on Aid Like A Paycheck

      June, 2017

      This study examines whether an alternative approach to distributing financial aid — in biweekly payments instead of one or two lump sums — can improve outcomes for low-income community college students. After one semester, the policy reduced students’ debt and use of federal loans but showed little consistent evidence of academic effects.


      Incremental Aid to Promote Student Success

      September, 2013
      Michelle Ware, Evan Weissman, Drew McDermott

      Aid Like A Paycheck is based on a simple idea that is gaining national attention: after tuition and fees have been paid to a college, disburse the remaining financial aid to students evenly throughout the term — like a paycheck. This brief describes successful pilot tests at two colleges and discusses policy implications.


      Impact Studies at Merced College and The Community College of Baltimore County

      February, 2012
      Evan Weissman, Dan Cullinan, Oscar Cerna, Stephanie Safran, Phoebe Richman

      Two colleges implemented semester-long learning communities linking developmental English with a range of other courses. At Merced, learning communities students earned more developmental English credits and passed more English courses than a control group. At CCBC, there were no meaningful impacts on students’ credit attempts or progress. Neither college’s program had an impact on persistence or on cumulative credits earned.


      An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs

      October, 2011
      Heather Wathington, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Evan Weissman, Jedediah Teres, Joshua Pretlow, Aki Nakanishi

      For entering college students with low basic skills, eight intensive summer programs provided accelerated instruction in math, reading, and/or writing; academic support; a “college knowledge” component; and the opportunity to receive a $400 stipend. Early results suggest that participants were more likely to pass entry-level college courses in math and writing.


      Impact Studies at Queensborough and Houston Community Colleges

      February, 2011
      Evan Weissman, Kristin F. Butcher, Emily Schneider, Jedediah Teres, Herbert Collado, David H. Greenberg

      Learning communities, which co-enroll small groups of students into linked courses, are a popular strategy for helping developmental students at community colleges succeed. This report examines the impacts of one-semester learning communities for developmental math students at Queensborough Community College and Houston Community College. At both colleges, students in learning communities attempted and passed their developmental math class at higher rates than students in a control group. However, this impact generally did not translate into increased cumulative progress in math by the end of two or three semesters.


      Lessons from the SSPIRE Initiative

      July, 2009
      Evan Weissman, Oscar Cerna, Christian Geckeler, Emily Schneider, Derek V. Price, Thomas J. Smith

      This report describes how community colleges in California that participated in the Student Support Partnership Integrating Resources and Education (SSPIRE) initiative took steps to better serve low-income and underprepared students by integrating student support services with academic instruction.

  • Other Publications

      Weiss, Michael J., Mary G. Visher, Evan Weissman, and Heather Wathington. 2015. “The Impact of Learning Communities for Students in Developmental Education: A Synthesis of Findings from Randomized Trials at Six Community Colleges.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (January).

  • Projects