Louisiana community college students who took part in an innovative “performance-based” scholarship program stayed in school longer, earned more credits, and received higher grades than peers who received traditional forms of financial aid, according to a new report.
The study, released on Jan. 14 by the New York City-based MDRC research group, evaluates Opening Doors, a pilot program that doles out tuition aid to low-income community college students provided that they meet certain conditions, such as maintaining a C average and enrolling at least half time each semester.
The program is now a model for a multistate demonstration program aimed at improving persistence rates in community colleges. On average, one-third of students who begin their postsecondary careers at community colleges earn a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree within six years.
A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2009 edition of Education Week