A new study suggests that performance-based college scholarships may be a promising approach to keeping students on track to finish their degrees.
Rather than giving merit aid based on earlier accomplishments, these scholarships are incentives for low-income students to do well in college. The money is contingent on attaining academic benchmarks and is paid directly to the student—not to the institution.
MDRC, a New York-based nonprofit that researches public policy, looked at performance-based scholarship demonstrations in six states and found modest-but-positive effects on markers of academic success, such as numbers of credits earned. If the programs reveal lasting effects after the scholarships are no longer available, the researchers said, they might eventually lead to higher graduation rates and increased earnings.
A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2012 edition of Education Week as Performance-Based Scholarships