Education for What?

Aug. 30, 2023
Despite enrollment and completion rates declining and Americans' confidence in higher education falling, the economic case for earning a college degree remains solid. College graduates earn about $1 million more over the course of their working years than U.S. adults with no college degree, on average.

Advancing Equity by Rethinking the Use of Tests in College Admissions

July 25, 2023
This brief discusses the equity implications of requiring college applicants to submit an SAT or ACT score as part of their application for admission, considerations for college leaders examining test-optional polices, and ways in which test-free policies may address equity concerns related to standardized tests in college admissions. The brief concludes with recommendations for college…

The Urgency of Fair and Equitable Holistic Review of College Applicants

July 20, 2023
This brief is focused on holistic review, a strategy in college admissions that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside a range of indicators that include grades, extra curriculars, environmental context, among other factors. For admissions officers and college leaders, it is a powerful tool and a fairer and more thoughtful approach to reviewing student applications…
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Time for Class 2023

June 20, 2023
Digital learning has become a prominent feature of modern education, with the potential to provide personalized instruction through technology-enhanced tools, communication, design, and support services in online, hybrid, blended, and face-to-face learning environments. While digital learning tools can improve access and flexibility for underserved students, challenges exist that need to be addressed.

Investment in the Future

Feb. 20, 2023
Steps taken to address racial inequality in the private sector and higher education are not always altruistic. This brief examines the economic impact of having a representative workforce, focusing on the state of North Carolina (NC). We discuss the importance of successful education programming designed to address issues related to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and people…
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Race, Ethnicity, and the Design of State Grant Aid Programs

Jan. 26, 2023
Most states use need-based state grant programs to reduce financial barriers to college for students from low-income households. The policy design and eligibility requirements of these grant programs vary from state to state and even across sectors. But some policies may unintentionally disproportionately exclude students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups.

Starting with Freedom in Mind

Dec. 14, 2022
The seminal book on guided pathways, Redesigning America’s Community Colleges (Bailey et al., 2015), outlines the importance of college stakeholders who seek to successfully adopt a guided pathways approach to start with the students’ end goal in mind. This end-in-mind approach at the onset of institutional guided pathways adoption is foundational as it provides the…
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Supporting Adult Learners Through the SUCCESS Program

Dec. 7, 2022
In 2019, MDRC launched the Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) project to improve college completion rates for traditionally underserved students — such as students from low-income backgrounds and students of color — at community and broad-access colleges. The SUCCESS program integrates multiple evidence-based components to help students stay enrolled and graduate, including proactive and holistic…