MDRC is one of the leading research organizations that conducts random trial experiments to improve college persistence and completion. Gates Foundation has signaled that they want to fund more experiments. In January MDRC published a study called Rewarding Experience: Effects Of a Perfomance Based Scholarship Program On Low Income Parents (go to www.mdrc.org). Students in New Orleans were paid $1,000 per semester if they enrolled in community college half time and maintained a grade point average of at least a C. Also, Counselors provided Pell grants and handed checks to students 3 times a semester.
Compared to a control group of similar students , the paid students increased college persistence , earned more credits, and perceived a higher level of social support. These incentive programs will be featured much more in future research. Student get Pell grants with few strings.