In this commentary, originally published in Community College Daily, MDRC’s Alyssa Ratledge draws on years of research to make the case for the importance of adding robust support services to free tuition programs at community colleges.
A Partnership Between Child Support Agencies and Local Service Providers
The Families Forward Demonstration examined strategies to help parents with low and middle incomes make reliable child support payments by increasing employment and earnings. The model, which emphasized free occupational training activities, shows promise for helping parents qualify for jobs in their chosen fields and for improving child support compliance.
Three Years of the Detroit Promise Path Program for Community College Students
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.
A Synthesis of Post-Program Effects in Higher Education
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.
When Washington state’s Division of Child Support closed its offices in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, its employment program—Families Forward Washington—kept running with minimal interruption, because the original design was based on working remotely. Its model may offer useful pointers for other service agencies for adapting to the pandemic.
Providing Remote Support Services to College Students
SUCCESS, a comprehensive coaching program designed to improve college graduation rates among low-income students, has quickly transitioned during the pandemic. It is offering virtual advising appointments, adapting meeting topics to include tips for distance learning, and connecting students with local resources including food, health care, and emergency financial aid.
The College Promise Success Initiative
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.
MDRC’s Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) aims to help more low-income students and students of color graduate by combining proven components into an integrated three-year program. This brief provides an early look at participating states and colleges and how they have aligned SUCCESS with existing initiatives.
Lessons from the Los Angeles College Promise Program
The Los Angeles College Promise aims to increase college access and success by offering support services and a scholarship that covers tuition and fees for two years. This brief highlights how it has established a cycle of continual program improvement that uses insights from behavioral science and involves the students themselves.
MDRC’s initiative Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) seeks to improve graduation rates for community college students by helping states and colleges develop large-scale, financially sustainable support programs based on strong evidence. This issue focus provides an overview of the project.