WWC review of this study

Providing incentives for timely progress toward earning a college degree: Results from a performance-based scholarship experiment.

Binder, M., Krause, K., Miller, C., & Cerna, O. (2015, June). New York, NY: MDRC. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED618301

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,081
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: July 2021

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Postsecondary degree attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

postsecondary degree attainment

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

37.70

33.20

No

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

Earned 30+ Credits

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

48.40

35.30

Yes

 
 
13
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earned 27+ Credits

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,081 students

67.50

58.90

Yes

 
 
9

Enrolled in College During the Year

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

63.30

65.50

No

--

Enrolled in College During the Year

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

49.60

52.90

No

--

Enrolled in College During the Year

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

80.40

82.80

No

--

College credits earned

Performance-based scholarship vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,081 students

91.60

91.20

--

--


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: 60%
    Male: 41%
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    New Mexico
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    4%
    Native American
    7%
    Other or unknown
    56%
    White
    28%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    52%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    48%

Setting

The program, Vision Inspired Scholarship through Academic Achievement (VISTA), provided cash payments to students for four semesters at the University of New Mexico (UNM).

Study sample

Authors don't report characteristics of the analytic sample, but they do report characteristics of Pell-eligible freshmen entering UNM in 2006 and 2007, which provides a close approximation of the analytic sample. Per eligibility requirements, all students were Pell eligible, 60% of students were female, 28% were White, 4% were Black, 5% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and 7% of students were Native American. Over half (52%) were Hispanic. Students' average cumulative high school GPA was 3.3 and 56% were placed in remedial English, reading, or math.

Intervention Group

The VISTA scholarship program provided students with up to $1,000 in additional financial aid in each of the four consecutive semesters, in increments tied to academic milestones and with payments made directly to students. Students received $250 for registering for 12 or more credit hours in the first semester and for 15 or more credit hours in the second through fourth semesters; $250 for earning a 2.0 or higher GPA at mid-term; and $500 for successfully completing the required hours with a 2.0 or higher GPA. A student received the registration and mid-term payments only after meeting with an adviser who confirmed that the student met the milestones.

Comparison Group

Students randomly assigned to the comparison group did not receive the VISTA scholarship, but both comparison and intervention students were also eligible to receive the state’s scholarship, which paid tuition at any public college in the state, as long as students maintained a 2.5 cumulative GPA and earned at least 12 credit hours in all previous semesters. The majority of students in the study sample received the lottery scholarship during the same time that VISTA was offered.

Support for implementation

No additional details provided.

Reviewed: November 2016



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.
 

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