REPORT: How Does Last-Dollar Financial Aid Affect First-Year Student Outcomes? Evidence from the Bridging the Gap Study

The second report in this series provides a mixed-methods look at the inaugural Bridging the Gap cohort’s first full year of college, complementing analysis of enrollment and academic performance data with insights from student interviews. Early results suggest positive impacts on enrollment among lower-income students, although it is unclear whether observed improvements in academic performance […]

REPORT: The Future of Statewide College Promise Programs

This report first identifies and analyzes the range of design choices made by states and the challenges and opportunities created by those choices, finding that states that have enacted Promise programs since 2014 have imposed significant eligibility requirements. It then provides guiding principles to help states considering future Promise programs to avoid inequitable cost containment […]

Design Sustainable Funding for College Promise

College promise programs are spreading throughout this United States. These programs fund tuition and/or fees for eligible students who are actively progressing toward earning postsecondary certificates and undergraduate degrees. While existing college promise programs have varying designs, each one appears to be seeking continuous and long-term financial sustainability. The existing programs appear to be aimed […]

Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans

Over the course of the past few decades, student loans have become an increasingly common means of paying for a college education. Most students who complete a college program now take on student loans, and the amount of student debt that students assume has increased along with the price of attending college. At this time […]

Hungry and Homeless In College

Hungry and Homeless In College: Results From a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity In Higher Education By: Sara Goldrick-Rab, Jed Richardson, and Anthony Hernandez Wisconsin HOPE Lab Food and housing insecurity among the nation’s community college students threatens their health and well-being, along with their academic achievements. Addressing these basic needs is critical to ensuring that […]

The College Promise in California

“The need for a college-educated workforce in the United States has never been greater. Yet, while access to higher education is ever more important, the cost of higher education has increased dramatically over the last few decades, becoming less accessible to students from low- and middle-income families. College Promise programs help address the need for […]

Sustainable Funding Models: Privately-Funded Models

Postsecondary education has come to assume an increasingly central role in American life. Nearly 66% of high school graduates enroll in college within 12 months of high-school graduation (Snyder, de Brey & Dillow, 2016), while millions of adults attend college classes to complete a certificate or degree program, retool their job skills, prepare for new […]


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