Completion Incentive Grant Fund Financial Aid Pilot

Report
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Meeting | August 9, 2012
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Financial Aid Pilot Program
2012 SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference
A Public Agenda for Higher Education in Massachusetts
The Vision Project: The Vision
*****
We will produce the best-educated
citizenry and workforce in the nation.
We will be a national leader in research
that drives economic development.
*****
The Vision Project
Outcomes

College-going rates of high school graduates

Graduate and student success rates

Alignment of degree production with key areas of
workforce need

Academic achievements on campus-level and national
assessments of learning

Comparable learning outcomes among different student
population groups
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Problem
When students drop out of college,
Massachusetts does not get a full return
on its investment, and students are
left in debt without a credential.
The Question
Can financial aid resources be used in
innovative ways to increase student
certificate and degree completion rates?
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Process

Working Group on Graduation
and Student Success Rates
 Commissioned background
paper on financial aid
incentive policies
 Recommended that
Massachusetts leverage
financial aid resources to
increase student success
 Recommended specialized
working group—
Financial Aid Policy Advisory
Group
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Process

Financial Aid Policy Advisory Group
Charged to design the framework and guidelines for
financial aid pilot program that:
▪
▪
▪
▪
Will increase completion rates for degrees and certificates
Will target low-income students at our public institutions
Is based on evidence-based research
Is scalable
Financial Aid Pilot Program
Policy Advisory Group

Membership was representative of public college campuses
and external stakeholders

Work of the Policy Group was guided by national experts
 David Longanecker, President
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
 Brian Prescott , Director of Policy Analysis and Research
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Research
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Outcome
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
 Will run from Fall 2012 to Spring 2016
 Targets low-income, first-time students
▪ One cohort - comprised of students from 11 colleges
and universities representing all segments of public
higher education
▪ 3,500 students randomly divided into two groups,
Control and Treatment
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work

$3 million dollar annual projected
expenditure

2,000 maximum grant per year

$8,000 over four-year period

Students may earn incentive during summer
if annual maximum award was not received
during traditional fall & spring semesters
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

Students must:
 Earn 9–15 credits
per semester with
minimum GPA of 2.0
 Maintain continuous
enrollment up to four years
 Sign annual contract
of understanding
 Utilize campus
support services
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

Students will receive incentive grants in
increments of $100 per credit each
semester as follows:
$1000
 12 credits in a semester = $700
 15 credits in a semester =
▪ 4-year students must complete a minimum of
12 credits to receive the incentive
 9 credits in a semester =
$400
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

Institutions must:
 Agree to program guidelines
 Provide students with array of
academic support services
 Report institutional data
as required

Program will be evaluated:
 Quantitative and Qualitative
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Program Evaluation
Evaluation will begin with the initial year of the pilot:

Quantitative Evaluation
 Internal
 External Evaluator

Qualitative Analysis
 External Evaluator
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Evaluation
The analysis/evaluation of the pilot will focus on the following
questions:

What effect does the CIGF pilot have on the rates at which
students accumulate college level credit, the rate at which they
persist, transfer, and complete degrees and certificates?

How do these rates differ for students by race/ethnicity, sex,
age, first generation status, income , level of academic
preparation, among other characteristics?

To what extent does participating in the pilot affect student
financial aid packages and their choices about how to finance
their education (especially the balance between grants, work
and loans)?
Questions

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