WWC review of this study

Aid after enrollment: Impacts of a statewide grant program at public two-year colleges.

Anderson, D. M., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). Economics of Education Review, 67, 148-157.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    4,179
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: August 2019

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

GPA

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

2.23

2.23

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Cumulative GPA (2.0 and higher) through first two semesters

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
4,179 students

63.60

63.60

No

--

College GPA

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
4,179 students

N/A

2.31

No

--
Attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

% Earned a degree from any college

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

29.00

30.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Associates degree attainment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

19.10

19.60

No

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

Number of semesters enrolled

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

3.49

3.47

No

--
Credit accumulation and persistence outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College-level credits earned

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

36.93

36.31

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Enrolled (2nd semester)

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
4,179 students

88.00

86.30

Yes

 
 
4

Enrollment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

88.00

86.70

No

--

Enrollment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

51.70

50.90

No

--

Enrollment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

28.70

27.90

No

--

Enrollment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

59.01

59.00

No

--

Enrolled, Semester 3

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample;
4,179 students

58.90

58.40

No

--

Enrollment

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

First 3 cohorts.;
3,153 students

22.20

23.10

No

--

College-level credits earned

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
4,179 students

N/A

10.75

Yes

--

Credits earned

Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG) vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
4,179 students

N/A

8.94

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: 42%
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    Wisconsin

Setting

This study examined the effect of the Wisconsin Scholars Grant (WSG), which offered $1,800 per year to students who were enrolled full-time at public technical or two-year branch colleges in Wisconsin. These students were from low-income families.

Study sample

The sample consists of students who were enrolled in a public technical or two-year branch college in Wisconsin at the start of the study. About 58 percent of the sample was female and about 39 percent had a parent who completed college. The average student age was approximately 19 years. Data on race/ethnicity was only available for students in the University of Wisconsin Colleges; among these students, 81 percent were White. All students in the study were supposed to be eligible for a Pell Grant. Eligibility for a Pell Grant was based on family income, which had to be below approximately $50,000 for the 2008-09 school year. However, the authors describe problems that led to non-eligible students being included in the early cohorts (see the Intervention Group Section below). Almost 50 percent of the sample had an Expected Family Contribution of zero dollars toward college costs.

Intervention Group

The WSG is a grant program designed to reduce the financial burdens of college attendance, and study authors hypothesized it would increase the chances of students completing their college education. The WSG provided students with $1,800 per year, each year in which they were enrolled in a two-year public institution. Students could receive the grant for up to ten semesters provided they: (a) remained enrolled full-time, (b) filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), (c) maintained Pell Grant eligibility with some remaining unmet need, and (d) made academic progress toward a degree. If students transferred to a public four-year university in Wisconsin, the grant amount increased to $3,500 per year. Students received a letter saying they were being offered the WSG in October of their first year of college. To receive the grant, students had to return a form to verify their eligibility. Of the students who were offered the grant, only 80 percent received it. This was due in part to ineligible students being randomized to study conditions (see the Study Sample Section above), and possibly because grant notifications were not actually received by students, or because they did not return the verification form.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition entailed business-as-usual circumstances. Per the grant design, most students should have received a Pell grant in their first year of college but still have some unmet financial need.

Support for implementation

The study does not describe support for implementation.

 

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