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.
Lessons from Growth Sector’s STEM Core Program
Millions of community college students, particularly students of color and women, don’t complete the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses critical to succeeding in the modern economy. This brief examines one program that combines increased academic support, out-of-classroom activities, accelerated coursework, and other components to help improve student outcomes.
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.
The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) project integrates procedural justice (the idea of fairness in processes) into enforcement at six child support agencies. This brief describes PJAC’s approach to forgiving parents’ child support debt as an incentive for positive behavior—for example, making consistent payments.
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.
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.