In this commentary, originally published in The Hill, MDRC’s Alyssa Ratledge highlights the value of postsecondary institutions in rural communities and describes innovations that rural colleges have developed during the pandemic that could be expanded with more support.
Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and service use but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.
Financial aid reduces dropout rates, yet college students are unaware of many financial resources available to them. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act requires colleges to tell students they can apply for more aid. These evidence-based strategies can help schools create effective messages about aid to get positive responses.
Lessons from the CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
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.
Scaling Up Postsecondary Student Success Strategies
Minnesota’s two-year project to improve student success and degree attainment focused on improved course placement methods, communications about satisfactory academic progress and policies, and comprehensive student support programs. A major lesson in this brief: Programs that show significant results must be implemented widely to change student outcomes meaningfully.
Home visiting provides information, resources, and support to expectant parents with low incomes and families with young children and low incomes. This report presents the proposed design for long-term follow-ups with families in a recent large study of home visiting, continuing through the time their children are in high school.
A Review of the Literature
More than 5 million American children under the age of 18, a disproportionate number of whom are Black or Latino, have had a parent incarcerated. This report reviews studies about promising programs that seek to maintain and build healthy relationships between parents who are incarcerated and their children.
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.
Using Existing Services During the Pandemic
Many families with young children experienced severe strains during the pandemic—unemployment, increasing poverty, and increased anxiety and depression. State program administrators can help by strengthening home visiting services and using pediatric visits to reach families. This brief offers recommendations based on evidence of promising strategies, and insights from MDRC’s work.
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.