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ERIC Number: ED560075
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep-11
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Promoting Innovation to Improve College Access and Completion. Testimony Submitted to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
Mayer, Alexander K.; Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Diamond, John
Access to college has increased substantially over the last 50 years, but student success--defined as the combination of academic success and degree or certificate completion--has not kept pace. Student success, moreover, generally correlates with students' financial resources: Students from high-income families attend and complete college at higher rates than low-income students. There have been marked successes in college access since the passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which extended need-based financial assistance to the general population for the first time. Given the size of the financial aid system ($226 billion), renewed attention to innovations in financial aid could lead to improvements in student success. However, it is challenging to determine whether financial aid does in fact improve student success, because the factors associated with financial need, such as low family income, are also associated with a lack of academic success, making it difficult to isolate the effect of additional financial aid on student achievement. Using randomized controlled trials helps overcome this challenge. MDRC and other researchers have partnered with institutions across the country to conduct large, randomized controlled trials of innovations in financial aid, demonstrating that financial aid innovations and rigorous research can be effectively paired to produce reliable, useful evidence. They recommend encouraging financial aid innovation paired with evaluation research, especially randomized controlled trials. This testimony focuses on: (1) Year-round financial aid; (2) Federal Work-Study and satisfactory academic progress requirements; and (3) Clarifying opportunities for innovation.
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: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: Florida; New York
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IV; Pell Grant Program