@MDRC_News recently published RCT findings for Detroit Promise Path (DPP), a program providing coaching & other supports to Detroit-area community college students. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds no discernible impact on college degree or certificate receipt at 4-year mark.


  • Per the study report: DPP includes comprehensive coaching with a dedicated campus coach & monthly financial incentives to offset other costs of attendance (e.g., transportation). DPP uses a management information system to ensure it is operating effectively & monitor student progress.

Study Design:

  • The study sample comprised 1,268 students across 5 Detroit-area community colleges who were receiving a scholarship covering tuition & fees. The treatment group was offered DPP plus the scholarship; the control group received only the scholarship.


  • The study found DPP was mostly well-implemented but unfortunately had no impact on the primary targeted outcome at the 4-year mark: 11% of the treatment group had received a college degree or certificate vs 10% of the control group (the difference wasn't statistically significant).


  • The low rates of degree/credential receipt in both groups are dismaying. Based on careful review, I believe this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., good treatment-control baseline balance & negligible attrition).  

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