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ERIC Number: ED558338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug-5
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Opportunities to Improve Student Success. Testimony of Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, MDRC [before the] U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn
This document presents the testimony of MDRC's Lashawn Richburg-Hayes before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee regarding evidence-based ways to improve the academic success of low-income college students. Richburg-Hayes makes four primary points based on existing research: (1) Comprehensive and integrated programs can make a sizable difference. The City University of New York's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive and integrated long-term program designed to help more community college students graduate more quickly. MDRC's random assignment study of ASAP shows that the pro-gram nearly doubled three-year graduation rates for students who started college needing developmental (or remedial) course work -- at a lower cost per graduate than usual college services; (2) Identifying effective strategies for developmental education students is critical to improving national graduation rates and evening outcomes by socioeconomic status. Several random assignment interventions have been conducted that suggest modest positive improvements in outcomes are possible. Second-generation interventions are currently being evaluated and findings will be available shortly to inform policymakers and practitioners about what works in this area; (3) ASAP is one example of a program that implemented elements of a structured pathway approach, which is based on the idea that simple, well-defined programs of study may help more students complete community college. Most community college students are offered a vast array of courses and options to arrange their schedules and earn credentials. In theory, these allow them to match their interests with the right program. In reality, however, they leave many students confused and overwhelmed; and (4) Financial aid is an important lever to help low-income students succeed. Given both the size of the financial aid system ($226 billion) and the widespread use of financial aid for various purposes, financial aid must be thought of as another tool that can be used to improve academic success and postsecondary completion. A growing body of work has studied interventions that use financial aid as an incentive to improve academic success. Nine such studies demonstrate that incentive-based grants--an innovation on traditional financial aid--result in a larger proportion of students meeting academic benchmarks, a greater number of credits earned, and modest effects on grade point average in the first year. Work by MDRC in this area has shown that incentive-based grants can increase first-year enrollment when the intervention targets graduating high school seniors.
MDRC. 16 East 34th Street 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016-4326. Tel: 212-532-3200; Fax: 212-684-0832; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: New York; Texas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act 1965