Providing Comprehensive Community College Support at Scale
Community colleges have the potential to be powerful vehicles for economic mobility. However, the majority of students who enroll in community colleges do not earn a degree within three years. A growing research literature, including an RCT conducted by the Inclusive Economy Lab (IEL) of the One Million Degrees (OMD) program, demonstrates that providing comprehensive support services can dramatically improve student outcomes (Weiss et al., 2019; Sommo et al., 2018; Evans et al., 2017; Hallberg et al., in press). For such programs to translate to real gains in degree attainment, however, they will need to be implemented at much larger scale and be targeted to the students most likely to benefit. To achieve this goal in Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago is partnering with OMD to integrate their evidence-based model into the operations of the community college system, with the goal of ultimately reaching every student in the target population. Under the leadership of Marianne Bertrand and Kelly Hallberg, researchers from IEL will conduct a pilot study designed to assess the feasibility of implementing this integrated model and design an RCT to assess its effectiveness in increasing college enrollment, persistence, and completion.