Mentoring Program Posts 81% College Persistence Rate

Writing for The 74, Kate Stringer reviews a new randomized controlled trial that finds that one-on-one, in-person mentoring that starts in high school and continues through university study can have a significant effect on college persistence rates for low-income students. Excerpts from the article appear below:

A college mentoring program aimed at getting low-income and first-generation students into and through college has proven to be effective in an area where other interventions have failed: college persistence.

That’s according to a new randomized control trial released in October, which found that students who participated in the program Bottom Line were 14 percentage points more likely to still be enrolled in a four-year institution two years after high school than their peers who didn’t receive this support.

“The most surprising thing relative to the research landscape is that the effects grow so much over time,” said Andrew Barr, assistant professor of economics at Texas A&M University and co-author of the study. “These effects are very consistent across different types of students … our results really suggested [Bottom Line] should scale well.”

Last year, 81 percent of Bottom Line’s six-year cohort graduated from college – the national six-year cohort graduation rate is 59 percent, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. And this is significantly better than an eight-year cohort rate tracked by NCES for low-income students, of whom only 14 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree.

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