WWC review of this study

Paying for persistence: Early results of a Louisiana scholarship program for low-income parents attending community college.

Brock, T., & Richburg-Hayes, L (2006). New York, NY: MDRC. . Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED491719

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,019
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: July 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Term GPA, % with GPA 2.0 or greater

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,019 students

38.00

26.90

Yes

 
 
12
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Term GPA, % with GPA 2.0 or greater

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

40.40

19.60

Yes

 
 
23

Term GPA, % with GPA 2.0 or greater

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

27.10

19.20

Yes

 
 
11

Term GPA, % with GPA 2.0 or greater

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

19.20

13.70

No

--

Cumulative - Earned a 2.0 GPA or greater

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

45.60

36.90

Yes

 
 
9
Progressing in college outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,019 students

3.00

2.10

Yes

 
 
9
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Registered for any course

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

49.40

37.60

Yes

 
 
11

Registered for any course

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

30.10

22.90

Yes

 
 
9

Cumulative - Registered for any course

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

84.70

79.30

No

--

Cumulative - Number of semesters registered

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

2.50

2.00

Yes

--

Cumulative - Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

11.20

7.90

Yes

--

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

2.40

1.50

Yes

--

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

2.50

1.80

Yes

--

Number of courses passed

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

1.20

0.70

Yes

--

Number of courses passed

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

1.10

0.80

Yes

--

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

First 2 cohorts;
537 students

1.40

1.20

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 92%
    Male: 8%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
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    • M
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    • V
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
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    • c
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    • w
    • y

    Louisiana
  • Race
    Asian
    0%
    Black
    85%
    Other or unknown
    4%
    White
    11%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    3%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    97%

Setting

The study was set in two community colleges in New Orleans, Louisiana: Delgado Community College (City Park and West Bank campuses) and Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson (LTC). It is worth noting that the study began enrolling participants in Fall 2003, and Hurricane Katrina hit in Fall 2005, devastating campus buildings at all three campuses as well as the homes of students. Enrollment at the two Delgado campuses, where 80% of the sample were enrolled, began to bounce back after the hurricane, reaching pre-Katrina levels at the West Bank campus but only about two-thirds of the prior number at the City Park, which was even more adversely affected.

Study sample

The majority of the study participants were female (94.5% Delgado, 84.2% Louisiana Tech), unmarried and not living with a partner (77.0% Delgado, 65.5% Louisiana Tech), and Black (84.8% Delgado, 85.2% Louisiana Tech). The average age was 24.9 at Delgado and 27.0 at Louisiana Tech. Few participants were dependent on their parents (17.9% Delgado, 14.4% Louisiana Tech). Just over half were currently employed (51.4% Delgado, 52.5% Louisiana Tech). These characteristics are based on the full 1,019 participants in the study (reported in 2009 study). For the 2006 report, program effects were only analyzed for the first two cohorts who entered the study in spring and summer 2004, which represents 53% of the full sample (537 students).

Intervention Group

Students in the Opening Doors program received an initial payment of $250 after the program counselors confirmed with the registrar that they had enrolled at least half time. After midterms, those who were verified by counselors to be enrolled at least half time and were still earning a 2.0 GPA received a second payment of $250. A final payment of $500 was made at the end of the semester, after verification that the students had passed their courses and earned a GPA of at least 2.0. The Opening Doors counselors provided treatment participants with personalized attention and oversight by monitoring students’ compliance with program requirements. Counselors were also encouraged to help students resolve problems that interfered with their academic performance, either directly or by referring them to other campus or community resources. The incremental payment of the scholarship gave counselors at least two or three opportunities to talk with students each semester.

Comparison Group

The comparison group was considered "business as usual," receiving whatever regular financial aid, including Pell Grants, and counseling was available to all students. They did not receive an Opening Doors scholarship and did not have counselors who monitored their academic performance.

Support for implementation

This study was a collaboration between MDRC and its partners in the Network on Transitions to Adulthood, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The Louisiana Department of Social Services and the Louisiana Workforce Commission agreed to fund and oversee the program, while MDRC assisted the colleges with program implementation and conducted all evaluation activities, including random assignment of students to program and control groups. Program funding came through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and limited the ages of students to 18-34 year olds, and participants had to provide documentation required by state agencies.

Reviewed: March 2017

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Cumulative GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

7 Semesters

Full sample;
1,019 students

50.90

44.00

Yes

 
 
7
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Second semester GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

40.40

19.60

Yes

 
 
23

First semester GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

49.00

36.90

Yes

 
 
12

Third semester GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

27.10

19.20

Yes

 
 
11

Cumulative GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

First two cohorts;
537 students

47.50

36.50

Yes

 
 
11

Fourth semester GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

19.20

13.70

No

--

Cumulative GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

7 Semesters

First two cohorts;
537 students

45.60

36.90

Yes

 
 
9

Cumulative GPA (2.0 and higher)

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
1,019 students

55.00

46.90

Yes

 
 
8
Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Registered for any courses first semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
1,019 students

82.20

76.80

Yes

 
 
8
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Registered for any course: Second semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College: First two cohorts;
422 students

65.20

46.40

Yes

 
 
18

Registered for any course: Third semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College: First two cohorts;
422 students

61.20

46.00

Yes

 
 
15

Registered for any course: Second semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College;
817 students

69.50

56.70

Yes

 
 
13

Registered for any courses first semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College: First two cohorts;
422 students

78.00

72.30

No

--

Registered for any courses first semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

74.40

69.80

No

--

Registered for any courses first semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College;
817 students

84.50

81.00

No

--

Registered for any course: Fourth semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Delgado Community College: First two cohorts;
422 students

35.80

30.10

No

--
Credit accumulation outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

7 Semesters

Full sample;
1,019 students

11.50

9.10

Yes

 
 
8
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
1,019 students

7.10

5.50

Yes

 
 
11

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

First two cohorts;
537 students

9.50

6.70

Yes

 
 
11

Number of credits earned during first semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

3.20

2.20

Yes

 
 
11

Number of regular credits earned

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

7 Semesters

First two cohorts;
537 students

11.20

7.90

Yes

 
 
10

Number of credits earned during the second semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

2.40

1.50

Yes

 
 
10

Number of credits earned during third semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

2.50

1.80

Yes

 
 
8

Number of credits earned during fourth semester

Louisiana Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First two cohorts;
537 students

1.40

1.20

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Louisiana

Setting

The study took place at two New Orleans, Louisiana-based community colleges: Delgado Community College and Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson.

Study sample

The majority of the study participants were female (94.5% Delgado, 84.2% Louisiana Tech), unmarried and not living with a partner (77.0% Delgado, 65.5% Louisiana Tech), and Black (84.8% Delgado, 85.2% Louisiana Tech). The average age was 24.9 at Delgado and 27.0 at Louisiana Tech. Few participants were dependent on their parents (17.9% Delgado, 14.4% Louisiana Tech). Just over half were currently employed (51.4% Delgado, 52.5% Louisiana Tech). These characteristics are based on the full 1,019 participants in the study (reported in 2009 study). For the 2006 report, program effects were only analyzed for the first two cohorts who entered the study in spring and summer 2004, which represents 53% of the full sample (537 students).

Intervention Group

Students in the Opening Doors program received an initial payment of $250 after the program counselors confirmed with the registrar that they had enrolled at least half time. After midterms, those who were verified by counselors to be enrolled at least half time and were still earning a 2.0 GPA, received a second payment of $250. A final payment of $500 was made at the end of the semester, after verification that the students had passed their courses and earned a GPA of at least 2.0. The Opening Doors counselors provided treatment participants with personalized attention and oversight by monitoring students’ compliance with program requirements. Counselors were also encouraged to help students resolve problems that interfered with their academic performance, either directly or by referring them to other campus or community resources. The incremental payment of the scholarship gave counselors at least two or three opportunities to talk with students each semester.

Comparison Group

The control group was considered "business as usual." Participants in the control group received whatever regular financial aid, including Pell Grants, and counseling was available to all students. They did not receive an Opening Doors scholarship and did not have counselors who monitored their academic performance.

Support for implementation

This study was a collaboration between MDRC and its partners in the Network on Transitions to Adulthood, funded by the MacArthur Foundation (p. 1, 2009 report). "The Louisiana Department of Social Services and the Louisiana Workforce Commission agreed to fund and oversee the program, while MDRC assisted the colleges with program implementation and conducted all evaluation activities, including random assignment of students to program and control groups," (P. 11, 2009 report). Due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina during the study, outcomes are studied for both Pre-Katrina and Pre to Post Katrina (p. 11, 2009 report). Program funding came through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and limited the ages of students to 18-34 year olds, and participants had to provide documentation required by state agencies (p. 16). The program began as a small pilot program in spring semester-summer 2005 just before Hurricane Katrina struck, and each college appointed an administrator to oversee Opening Doors and hired counselors to work with students. Delgado's City Park campus had two counselors and the other two campuses had one counselor and one administrative assistant (p. 31, 2009 report). The MDRC 2009 reported that there was a lack of leadership support for the Opening Doors program (p. 34), hypothesized to be due to the short-lived nature of the program and the pilot nature of the program.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Barrow, L., Richburg-Hayes, L., Rouse, C. E., & Brock, T. (2014). Paying for performance: The education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults. Journal of Labor Economics, 32(3), 563–599.

  • Barrow, L., Richburg-Hayes, L., Rouse, C. E., & Brock, T. (2012). Paying for performance: The education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults (Working Paper Series: WP-09-13, 2009). Chicago, IL: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

  • Richburg-Hayes, L., Brock, T., LeBlanc, A., Paxson, C., Rouse, C. E., & Barrow, L. (2009). Rewarding persistence: Effects of a performance-based scholarship program for low-income parents. New York, NY: MDRC.

Reviewed: November 2016

Meets WWC standards without reservations


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Barrow, L., Richburg-Hayes, L., Rouse, C. E., & Brock, T. (2012). Paying for performance: The education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults (Working Paper Series: WP-09-13, 2009). Chicago, IL: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

  • Richburg-Hayes, L., Brock, T., LeBlanc, A., Paxson, C., Rouse, C. E., & Barrow, L. (2009). Rewarding persistence: Effects of a performance-based scholarship program for low-income parents. New York, NY: MDRC.

  • Barrow, L., Richburg-Hayes, L., Rouse, C. E., & Brock, T. (2014). Paying for performance: The education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults. Journal of Labor Economics, 32(3), 563–599.

 

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