From performance-based scholarships to financial aid education to emergency funding, MDRC is looking at ways to help low-income students stay in school and complete their studies while balancing academic, family, and employment demands.

The Latest
Issue Focus

Some education programs’ early positive effects disappear over time, while other programs have unanticipated positive long-term effects. This Issue Focus introduces The Higher Education Randomized Controlled Trials, an examination of program effects after a postsecondary education program ends, using a database drawn from 31 MDRC projects, sampling 67,400 stu­dents.

Report

This program combines a tuition-free scholarship with additional forms of support, such as a campus coach and personalized communications, to keep students on track to graduate. A three-year evaluation shows that the program helped students stay enrolled in school and earn more credits, but had no impact on degrees earned.

Key Documents
Issue Focus

Evidence from Three Studies

Results from three random assignment studies at New York City community colleges suggest that year-round financial aid can increase enrollment during the summer and winter sessions — and that summer and winter enrollment can help students earn more credits.

Issue Focus

MDRC’s Aid Like A Paycheck evaluation is testing whether the distribution of financial aid to students in biweekly payments over the course of a term — like a paycheck — can improve academic and financial outcomes for low-income community college students. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the project.

Issue Focus

A Look at MDRC’s Research

How can financial aid be used to improve academic success for low-income college students? Evidence suggests that providing additional financial support to increase students’ enrollment intensity — either increasing the number of credits they take each semester or enrolling in courses during the summer — can boost credit accumulation and may help them complete degrees faster.