Higher education programs in prison usually define success by reduced recidivism rates.
July 26, 2018
Great Lakes Education Philanthropy Update
$2.3 Million Grant Fast-Tracks UW System Math Initiative

Developing Metrics to Promote Student Success in Prison Higher Education

Higher education programs in prison usually define success by reduced recidivism rates. But giving incarcerated students opportunities for a better life could go beyond helping them avoid returning to prison. With the right tools, practitioners could build stronger programs designed to help students stay on the path to success and make the experience of higher education a more transformative one.

To help more incarcerated students succeed, we made a $1.7 million grant to the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) to support development of a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) specifically suited to higher education in prison. The KPIs will be designed to measure performance, efficiency and equity.

IHEP is well-suited to lead this effort because they have previously developed KPIs for the traditional college field, and they have a long history of research and advocacy for underserved students, including the prison population.

IHEP will assemble an advisory board of experts with diverse perspectives to guide the project, and two pilot programs in Iowa and Indiana will field test the KPIs. After testing, IHEP will share a refined set of KPIs with the field. We hope that with these new tools, practitioners will be able to better gauge the effectiveness of their programs and ultimately help more incarcerated students achieve their higher education goals. Read more

New Data Shows Dash Emergency Grants Dramatically Increase Retention Rates

Paid Internship Programs Boast High Retention Rates

Internships are a great way for students to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field. But not all internships are paid, and students from low-income backgrounds may not be able to afford to work without a paycheck.

To make paid internship programs available to more students and ultimately help them stay enrolled, we have committed $22 million toward Career Ready Internship Grants since 2013. These grants are designed to assist colleges as they work to connect students with internship opportunities that pay in both dollars and real-world career experience.

Our partner colleges report that as of Fall 2017, 96% of participating students at two-year institutions and 98% at four-year institutions either graduated or re-enrolled. We’re thrilled about these encouraging results and look forward to sharing the latest retention rates and lessons learned when we report Spring 2018 results this fall.

25 Cities Accept NCAN Challenge to Increase FAFSA Completion Rates

New Playbook Helps Local Officials Boost Promise Programs

The College Promise Campaign is promoting promise programs across the country aimed at helping more students from underserved groups gain access to higher education. They’ve published a new guide that offers thoughtful advice to local officials and others seeking to improve their communities by building College Promise programs.

This playbook complements MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative, a project we’re supporting that leverages evidenced-based strategies to help College Promise students overcome barriers to success. Read the Playbook

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