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Oregon Promise: Student outcomes and program impacts

Region:
Northwest
Abstract:

Description: To make college affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income students, Oregon is offering a statewide Promise program—and it is one of the first states to do so. These place-based programs are designed to help cover the cost of college tuition for eligible students. REL Northwest is partnering with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission to study the impact of Oregon Promise on high school graduates' postsecondary access and success.

The primary purpose of this study is to help policymakers determine whether Oregon Promise is a worthwhile investment for all Oregon students, as well as specific groups of underrepresented students. In addition, practitioners can use the results of this study to understand which students may need more support navigating the high school-to-college transition. Finally, this study will be of interest to other states designing similar financial aid programs.

Research Questions:

  1. What are the characteristics and outcomes of Oregon Promise non-applicants, applicants, and recipients?
  2. Among all students in Oregon, what is the relationship between Oregon Promise and postsecondary enrollment and persistence?
    1. How do findings vary for the first and second Oregon Promise cohorts; low-income students; students of color; and students who attended rural, urban, and suburban high schools?
  3. Among students from school districts in the Portland metropolitan area, what is the impact of Oregon Promise on postsecondary enrollment and persistence?
    1. How do findings vary for the first and second Oregon Promise cohorts, low-income students, and students of color?
Study Design: REL Northwest researchers will analyze data from the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and National Student Clearinghouse to understand the characteristics and outcomes of Oregon public high school seniors in 2015/16 and 2016/17 who were Oregon Promise non-applicants, applicants, and recipients. The study will also use two quasi-experimental designs—propensity score matching and regression discontinuity—to identify the impact of the program on students overall and specific subgroups of historically underrepresented students.

Projected Release Date: Summer 2021

Partnership or Research Alliance: Oregon Graduation and Postsecondary Success Alliance

Related Products: Making an Impact report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Michelle Hodara and Manuel Vazquez, REL Northwest at Education Northwest