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Paying for performance: the education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults

  • Lisa Barrow
  • Thomas Brock
  • Lashawn Richburg-Hayes
  • Cecilia Elena Rouse

We evaluate educational outcomes from an experiment which randomly assigned performancebased scholarship eligibility to students on community college campuses. Scholarships were awarded in three payments each semester over the course of two semesters. Payments were tied to students meeting two conditions—enrolling at least half time and maintaining a “C” or better semester grade point average. We find that the program increased the likelihood a student was enrolled at the program institutions in both the first and second semesters after random assignment and increased the total number of credits attempted and earned each semester. One year after random assignment, program group students were more likely to persist at their program institution, and one and two years after random assignment, program group students had completed 3-4 credits more than the control group students. We find little evidence that program eligibility induced students to change the types of courses taken but some evidence that the program may have increased academic performance and effort conditional on enrollment.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-09-13.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-09-13
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