WWC review of this study

Closing the Gap: The effect of a targeted, tuition-free promise on college choices of high-achieving, low-income students.

Susan Dynarski, C.J. Libassi, Katherine Michelmore, Stephanie Owen (2018). National Bureau of Economic Research . Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED594348

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,026
     Schools
    , grades
    12-PS

Reviewed: March 2019

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Access and enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Application to UM

TARGETED, TUITION-FREE PROMISE vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
1,026 schools

67.20

25.90

Yes

--
More Outcomes

Admission to UM

TARGETED, TUITION-FREE PROMISE vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
1,026 schools

31.20

14.90

Yes

--

Enrolled at UM

TARGETED, TUITION-FREE PROMISE vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
1,026 schools

25.80

11.70

Yes

--


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: 59%
    Male: 41%
    • 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

    Michigan
  • Race
    Black
    9%
    Other or unknown
    7%

Setting

The study is conducted in Michigan. All high school seniors in the state in each of 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years that met study eligibility requirements are included in the intervention and study. The two eligibility requirements are that the students 1) had free or reduced-price lunch status in their junior year, and 2) and met academic eligibility criteria set by the University of Michigan that were based on college entrance exam (SAT and ACT) scores and GPAs. Students who met basic University of Michigan admission criteria are the focus of the study. The study examined whether these students enrolled at the University Michigan, as well as whether they applied to other colleges.

Study sample

The treatment (control) sample is 57 (61) percent female; 83 (84) percent white or Asian, 9 (9) percent black, and 7 (7) percent other; and 71 (69) percent free lunch eligible, and 29 (31) percent reduced-price lunch eligible. Free or reduced price lunch eligibility was a condition of the study.

Intervention Group

In the treatment condition, eligible students received a large, glossy recruitment mailer that included an information packet and a High Achieving Involved Leader (HAIL) scholarship commitment conditioned only on acceptance to the University of Michigan. Principals of the schools assigned to the treatment condition receive a letter explaining the scholarship offered and identifying the eligible students; they are encouraged to discuss the opportunity with the students.

Comparison Group

Control students received a postcard with information on application deadlines.

Support for implementation

The University of Michigan admission and recruiting staff worked closely with the study authors to design and implement the intervention.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top