CPRC Seminar - Oct 4

Columbia Population Research Center

is pleased to invite you to: 

Increasing Community College Completion Rates among Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of a Case Management Intervention"

presented by Melissa S. Kearney

Professor of Economics

University of Maryland


Thursday, Octboer 4, 2018

12:30pm - 1:30pm

Room C03

Columbia University School of Social Work

1255 Amsterdam Avenue


Videoconference is available at:

Mailman School of Public Health, room 532B

722 West 168th Street


Registration required at https://cupop.formstack.com/forms/cprcfall2018

Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP to attend at the Columbia School of Social Work.



We examine the impact of a comprehensive case management intervention that is designed specifically to help low-income students overcome the multitude of barriers to college completion. The study is based on a randomized controlled trial evaluation (RCT) in which students were randomly assigned to a treatment group that was offered comprehensive case management, including emergency financial assistance (EFA), a separate treatment group offered only EFA, or a control group. Data from school administrative records indicate that the comprehensive case management program significantly increases persistence and degree completion, especially for women. Estimates for the full sample are imprecise, but the estimates for women imply that the case management intervention tripled associate degree receipt (31 percentage point increase). We find no difference in outcomes between the EFA-only treatment arm and the control group. A back-of-the-envelope calculation using average earnings gains associated with community college completion implies that program benefits exceed program costs ($5,640 per student for three-year program) after only 4.25 years in the workforce post-schooling. 


Melissa S. Kearney is the Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland. She also serves as Director of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); a non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings; a scholar affiliate and member of the board of the Notre Dame Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO); and a scholar affiliate of the MIT Abdul Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She is a senior editor of the Future of Children and a co-editor at the Journal of Human Resources. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Smith Richardson Foundation and on the Social Inequality Advisory Committee of the Russell Sage Foundation. Kearney served as Director of the Hamilton Project at Brookings from 2013-2015 and as co-chair of the JPAL State and Local Innovation Initiative from 2015-2018. Kearney's academic research focuses on domestic policy issues, especially issues related to social policy, poverty, and inequality. She teaches Public Economics at both the undergraduate and PhD level at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

For additional information regarding the Fall 2018 CPRC Seminar Series please visit: http://cupop.columbia.edu/events/seminar-series/cprc-seminars