MDRC Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This presentation will cover findings from randomized controlled trials of performance based scholarships conducted in six states as part of the demonstration. Qualifying low-income students were randomly assigned by researchers either to receive only their usual financial aid package and services (control group) or to be eligible to receive supplemental financial aid and services in the form of a performance-based scholarship contingent upon meeting the given academic benchmarks (program group). The eligibility requirements varied from state to state, including programs targeted to at-risk groups such as men of color and parents, but all students were low-income. Early findings showed that these scholarships can have modest, positive impacts on course-taking patterns and key markers of academic progress, such as credits earned. In one site, previously released findings suggest that performance-based scholarships decreased students’ time-to-degree.
This presentation will describe the final, pooled findings from across the six demonstration sites, with an emphasis on long-term findings for degree and certificate completion, persistence, and credit accumulation. More than 12,000 students participated in the studies, and the findings described in this presentation include up to five years of follow-up data for long-term outcomes. The presentation will also include findings from implementation research at the sites and from subgroup analyses to examine whether the programs were more effective for particular student subgroups. Policy implications for these findings in both federal and state contexts will also be discussed.