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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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  1. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2002. "Estimating the returns to community college schooling for displaced workers," Working Paper Series WP-02-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "Working During School and Academic Performance," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20009, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  3. Victor Lavy, 2004. "Performance Pay and Teachers' Effort, Productivity and Grading Ethics," NBER Working Papers 10622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2008. "Learning About Academic Ability and the College Drop-Out Decision," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20086, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  6. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
  8. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 629-62, September.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
  10. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
  11. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
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