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Completion Incentive Grant Fund Financial Aid Pilot Program 2013 EASFAA Conference - Boston, MA Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Meeting |

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Presentation on theme: "Completion Incentive Grant Fund Financial Aid Pilot Program 2013 EASFAA Conference - Boston, MA Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Meeting |"— Presentation transcript:

1 Completion Incentive Grant Fund Financial Aid Pilot Program 2013 EASFAA Conference - Boston, MA Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Meeting | May 7, 2013

2 MASSACHUSETTS COMPLETION INCENTIVE GRANT FUND  Iris Godes, Assistant Vice President – Enrollment Quinsigamond Community College  Pamela McCafferty, Dean of Enrollment Management Fitchburg State University  Judy Keyes, Director of Financial Aid University of Massachusetts Boston  Clantha McCurdy, Senior Deputy Commissioner Massachusetts Department of Higher Education PRESENTERS

3 A Public Agenda for Higher Education in Massachusetts ***** We will produce the best-educated citizenry and workforce in the nation. We will be a national leader in research that drives economic development. ***** The Vision Project: The Vision

4 The Vision Project  College-going rates of high school graduates  Graduate and student success rates  Alignment of degree production with key areas of workforce need  Academic achievements on campus-level and national assessments of learning  Comparable learning outcomes among different student population groups Outcomes

5 Financial Aid Pilot Program When students drop out of college, Massachusetts does not get a full return on its investment, and students are left in debt without a credential. The Problem

6 Can financial aid resources be used in innovative ways to increase student certificate and degree completion rates? The Question

7 Financial Aid Pilot Program  Working Group on Graduation and Student Success Rates  Commissioned background paper on financial aid incentive policies  Recommended that Massachusetts leverage financial aid resources to increase student success  Recommended specialized working group— Financial Aid Policy Advisory Group The Process

8 Financial Aid Pilot Program  Financial Aid Policy Advisory Group Charged to design the framework and guidelines for financial aid pilot program that: ▪ Will increase completion rates for degrees and certificates ▪ Will target low-income students at our public institutions ▪ Is based on evidence-based research ▪ Is scalable The Process

9 Financial Aid Pilot Program  Membership was representative of public college campuses and external stakeholders  Work of the Policy Group was guided by national experts  David Longanecker, President Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)  Brian Prescott, Director of Policy Analysis and Research Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Policy Advisory Group

10 Financial Aid Pilot Program The Research

11 Financial Aid Pilot Program  Will run from Fall 2012 to Spring 2016  Targets low-income, first-time students ▪ One cohort - comprised of students from 11 colleges and universities representing all segments of public higher education ▪ 3,500 students randomly divided into two groups, Control and Treatment The Outcome – Research Pilot Completion Incentive Grant Fund

12  $3 million dollar annual projected expenditure  2,000 maximum grant per year  $8,000 over four-year period  Students may earn incentive during summer if annual maximum award was not received during traditional fall & spring semesters How Will It Work

13 Completion Incentive Grant Fund  Students must: Earn 9–15 credits per semester with minimum GPA of 2.0 Maintain continuous enrollment up to four years Sign contract of understanding Utilize campus support services How Will It Work?

14  Students will receive incentive grants in increments of $100 per credit each semester as follows:  15 credits in a semester = $1000  12 credits in a semester = $700 ▪ 4-year students must complete a minimum of 12 credits to receive the incentive  9 credits in a semester = $400 How Will It Work? Completion Incentive Grant Fund

15  Institutions must: Agree to program guidelines Provide students with array of academic support services Report institutional data as required  Program will be evaluated:  Quantitative and Qualitative How Will It Work?

16 Completion Incentive Grant Fund Evaluation will begin with the initial year of the pilot:  Quantitative Evaluation  Internal  External Evaluator  Qualitative Analysis  External Evaluator Program Evaluation

17 Completion Incentive Grant Fund The analysis/evaluation of the pilot will focus on the following questions:  What effect does the CIGF pilot have on the rates at which students accumulate college level credit, the rate at which they persist, transfer, and complete degrees and certificates?  How do these rates differ for students by race/ethnicity, sex, age, first generation status, income, level of academic preparation, among other characteristics?  To what extent does participating in the pilot affect student financial aid packages and their choices about how to finance their education (especially the balance between grants, work and loans)? Evaluation

18 Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund College Participants

19 EASFAA 2013 Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund Iris Godes Assistant Vice President Enrollment Management

20 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  Sample selected in late August  Students required to sign an Agreement  Wanted students to learn about the program in person through information sessions  Sent letter and to Treatment Group  Offered multiple sessions - morning, afternoon and evening  Did not get a great response Implementation

21 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  Extended deadline and offered more sessions  More s, another letter, phone calls, faculty  If parents knew, it helped, but we have many non-traditional students  By end of October, started allowing students to come to the Financial Aid Office to sign the agreement in person Implementation Con’t

22 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  Students thought it was a scam  Students thought they would have to pay it back like a loan  Students bills were covered so they didn’t feel they needed the funds  Students don’t read what we send them Can’t Give Money Away

23 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  347 invited to participate  255 signed agreements (73.5%)  30 never signed agreement (8.6%)  62 became ineligible or chose not to participate (17.9%) QCC Data

24 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  158 received fall awards (62%)  Total of $100,200  Minimum award $400 (9 credits completed)  Maximum award $1,000 (15 credits completed) How Did They Do?

25 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  326 students  13 became ineligible  59% completed at least 9 credits Control Group

26 CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College  How many CIGF enrolled at least 9 credits?  How many enrolled for more credits than earned in fall?  How does this compare to control group?  How does this compare to college fall-spring retention rate? Where Are They Now?

27 EASFAA 2013 Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund Pamela McCafferty, Dean Enrollment Management Fitchburg State University

28 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  Control Group: 98  Treatment Group: 130  4 did not enroll  1 refused to sign  125 signed participation agreement (96%) ▪ 4 later deemed ineligible ▪ 3 EFC ▪ 1 Residency ▪ 121 potentially eligible for payment CIGF Population Fall 2012

29 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  121 potential recipients 106 qualified for payment (88%)  $96,100 awarded  Average and median GPA: 2.95  Average credits earned: 14  Median credits earned: 15  Average award: $907  Median award: $1,000 Award Recipients Fall 2012

30 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  121 potential recipients  15 did not qualify for payment (12%)  3: GPA < 2.0  4: Earned Credits < 12  7: Earned Credits < 12 and GPA < 2.0  1: Withdrew from the University Non Qualifiers Fall 2012

31 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  91 “potential recipients”  71 “qualified for payment” (78%)  Average GPA 3.16  Median GPA: 3.24  Average credits earned: 14  Median credits earned: 15  Average award: $921  Median award: $1,000 Control Group

32 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  Sampling file submitted to DHE early August  Treatment & control groups identified mid-August  FSU mailed out letters to treatment group late August Implementation Timeline

33 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  125 agreements signed  Letters with contract mailed prior to start of term  Mandatory group meeting second week of term  79 students attended (63%)  Follow-up then done one-on-one  18 within 1 week (77%)  16 within the next week (90%)  All signed by mid November Participation Agreement Process

34 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  Coordinated effort with Student Accounts  Expedited effort at end of term  Award “options”  Outstanding fall bill (rare)  Reduction of loan  Refund Payment Process

35 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  Initial Sampling File August  Online Award Certification (Dec/Jan)  End of Term data file (January) Reporting to DHE

36 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  Quick implementation timeline  New Program (“kinks” to work out) Challenges

37 CIGF – Fitchburg State University  106 needy students received additional grant funds  Many students reduced loans  Greater awareness of course load and time to complete Benefits

38 EASFAA 2013 Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund Judy Keyes, Director of Financial Aid University of Massachusetts Boston

39 CIGF – UMASS Boston  447 Eligible Students 203 Control Group 244 Treatment Group CIGF Population

40 CIGF – UMASS Boston  216 Signed Participation Forms  4 signed and later deemed ineligible  24 did not respond/declined Participation Agreements

41 CIGF – UMASS Boston 170 qualified to receive funds $147,400 awarded Average GPA Average credits achieved 13.0 Average award $852 Median award $850 Treatment Group Fall 2012 Qualified Applicant Statistics

42 CIGF – UMASS Boston  3 Enrolled part-time  8 GPA below 2.0  18 Earned less than 12 credits  16 Earned less than 12 credits and GPA below 2.0  3 Withdrew from the University  1 Insufficient need/Cost of Attendance Treatment Group Fall Ineligible Reasons

43 CIGF – UMASS Boston  Average GPA  Average credit achieved  1 Part-time enrollment  9 GPA below 2.0  16 earned less than 12 credits  17 Less than 12 credits earned and GPA below 2.0 Control Group Statistics

44 CIGF – UMASS Boston  Timing of implementation  System preparation  Soliciting student participation  Student support needed to answer questions  Coordination of aid  Disbursing funds CIGF Implementation Challenges

45 CIGF – UMASS Boston 1 st Notification to students sent via on 8/31; due date 9/24 Mid-September Academic Support Services makes follow up phone calls to students who have not signed agreement Late September “Final Notice” letter sent via mail and ; due date October 5th Early October Financial Aid reaches out to student specific support liaisons such as CLA First, BPS, CSM Success Center Soliciting Student Participation

46 CIGF – UMASS Boston  Most students were fully packaged  Commuter school; funds are needed early on to pay rent, parking, transportation  Full scholarship students were not excluded from initial selection file  Reducing loans on a semester basis is challenging Coordination of Aid

47 CIGF – UMASS Boston  Spring charges are on the student accounts before fall CIGF grant is credited; therefore no apparent credit balance  Worked with Bursar’s Office to identify students and manually force excess funds Coordinating Disbursement

48 CIGF – UMASS Boston  170 needy students received additional grant funds  Many students declined student loans in lieu of CIGF  Students are more engaged with the Financial Aid Office  Supports the University’s retention efforts “Start on Track, Stay on Track”  More students seeking advice regarding course enrollment, transferring, etc. Program Benefits

49 QUESTIONS MASSACHUSETTS COMPLETION INCENTIVE GRANT FUND (CIGF)


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