Federal aid, part-time work-study and student loans provide assistance to low-income college students, but this assistance is sometimes just not enough for the students to focus entirely and excel in their studies.

This is why MDRC has created and formally launched a performance-based scholarship to assist these low-income students in their studies.

According to the MDRC1, “the idea is to provide a supplement to existing federal and state financial aid that is contingent on enrolling in a minimum number of credit hours and making passing grades. The performance-based scholarships are paid directly to students (rather than to the colleges or universities they attend) in order to reward students for their progress and to allow them to make choices of how best to support their schooling.”

This will allow low-income students to allocate the funds wherever they deem it is most needed, like transportation, child care or even fewer working hours.

The scholarship is currently being tested in various four and two-year institutions spread out over six states. It has already covered more than 5,600 students and aims to compare the outcomes of students that receive the performance-based scholarship with a control group that has access to other scholarships.

MDRC was formerly known as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation when it was founded in 1974. It is best known for its large-scale evaluations of real-world policies and programs that target low-income people.


  1. MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor. []

Last updated: December 26, 2011 by & filed under Blog

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