A college degree can put low-income students on a path to upward mobility, but across the country students struggling with poverty disproportionately fail to make it to graduation day. Programs that effectively address their barriers to success have been a research interest for the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities from the start, and we are honored to have contributed to the body of evidence for what works.
Since then, LEO has had the opportunity to partner with other researchers and evidence-based service providers across the country that offer "comprehensive approaches to student success" (CASS). We had a bold agenda: understand what it would take to scale and replicate what we know works in order to reach all students who could benefit from CASS interventions.
This month, our research partner The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) released the fruit of our conversations: the Comprehensive Approaches to Student Success – Community of Practice Research and Equity Agenda.
“This research agenda is an important step in addressing the college completion crisis in our country," Heather Reynolds, LEO's managing director said. "Thanks to the hard work of service providers and academics, we already have robust evidence for the kinds of programming that helps underserved students succeed. I am excited that our focus can now turn to providing policymakers and program leaders with recommendations on how to effectively scale and replicate these interventions as well as data on their long-term impact on economic mobility.”
Research is a long game. 2022 will mark 10 years since LEO began laying the groundwork for its college completion study. While there is more we need to learn, as the research agenda articulates, we are excited to be at the point of tackling questions about replication and long-term impact.
With each impact evaluation, we believe that what we learn will move us closer toward the goal of helping people out of poverty. The coming months will see the LEO team launch several studies, including on maternity homes and rapid rehousing. We will also finalize the research designs of our upcoming projects in Atlanta, begin the application process for a new cohort and prepare for our next location-based cohort, which is planned for Seattle.