This brief, produced with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, offers promising strategies to address the barriers that state-level postsecondary leaders have observed inhibit evidence-based policy making in higher education.
Here’s What Institutions and State Agencies Need to Know
This brief summarizes the evidence from studies of multifaceted support programs aimed at boosting college graduation rates. It examines what works and the state and institutional factors necessary for successful implementation, and offers advice on how to balance fidelity with local needs while measuring and ensuring positive impacts.
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.
A Profile of Roca Baltimore
Roca Baltimore works with young men who have been involved in the justice system and who are at high risk of violence. MDRC is partnering with Roca to evaluate its implementation and participant outcomes. This brief describes the program model, the young men it serves, and its local context.
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.
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.
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.