CIGF – UMASS Boston

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Meeting | May 7, 2013
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Financial Aid Pilot Program
2013 EASFAA Conference - Boston, MA
MASSACHUSETTS COMPLETION INCENTIVE GRANT FUND
PRESENTERS

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
A Public Agenda for Higher Education in Massachusetts
The Vision Project: The Vision
*****
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
Outcomes

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
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Problem
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 Question
Can financial aid resources be used in
innovative ways to increase student
certificate and degree completion rates?
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Process

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
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Process

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
Financial Aid Pilot Program
Policy Advisory Group

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
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Research
Financial Aid Pilot Program
The Outcome – Research Pilot
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
 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
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work

$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
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

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
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

Students will receive incentive grants in
increments of $100 per credit each
semester as follows:
$1000
 12 credits in a semester = $700
 15 credits in a semester =
▪ 4-year students must complete a minimum of
12 credits to receive the incentive
 9 credits in a semester =
$400
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
How Will It Work?

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
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Program Evaluation
Evaluation will begin with the initial year of the pilot:

Quantitative Evaluation
 Internal
 External Evaluator

Qualitative Analysis
 External Evaluator
Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Evaluation
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)?
Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund
College Participants
EASFAA 2013
Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Iris Godes
Assistant Vice President
Enrollment Management
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
Implementation

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 email to Treatment Group

Offered multiple sessions - morning,
afternoon and evening

Did not get a great response
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
Implementation Con’t

Extended deadline and offered more sessions

More emails, 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
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
Can’t Give Money Away

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
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
QCC Data

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%)
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
How Did They Do?

158 received fall awards (62%)

Total of $100,200

Minimum award $400 (9 credits completed)

Maximum award $1,000 (15 credits completed)
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
Control Group

326 students

13 became ineligible

59% completed at least 9 credits
Credit Distribution
44.6%
37.9%
7.2%
4.6%
4.1%
0.0%
9 credits
1.5%
10 credits 11 credits 12 credits 13 credits 14 credits 15+ credits
CIGF – Quinsigamond Community College
Where Are They Now?

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?
EASFAA 2013
Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Pamela McCafferty, Dean
Enrollment Management
Fitchburg State University
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
CIGF Population Fall 2012

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 – Fitchburg State University
Award Recipients Fall 2012

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
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Non Qualifiers Fall 2012

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
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Control Group

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
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Implementation Timeline

Sampling file submitted to DHE early August

Treatment & control groups identified
mid-August

FSU mailed out letters to treatment group
late August
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Participation Agreement Process

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
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Payment Process

Coordinated effort with Student Accounts

Expedited effort at end of term

Award “options”
 Outstanding fall bill (rare)
 Reduction of loan
 Refund
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Reporting to DHE

Initial Sampling File August

Online Award Certification (Dec/Jan)

End of Term data file (January)
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Challenges

Quick implementation timeline

New Program (“kinks” to work out)
CIGF – Fitchburg State University
Benefits

106 needy students received additional grant
funds

Many students reduced loans

Greater awareness of course load and time to
complete
EASFAA 2013
Massachusetts Completion Incentive Grant Fund
Judy Keyes, Director of Financial Aid
University of Massachusetts Boston
CIGF – UMASS Boston
CIGF Population

447 Eligible Students
• 203 Control Group
• 244 Treatment Group
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Participation Agreements

216 Signed Participation Forms

4 signed and later deemed ineligible

24 did not respond/declined
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Treatment Group Fall 2012 Qualified Applicant Statistics
•
170 qualified to receive funds
•
$147,400 awarded
•
Average GPA 3.174
•
Average credits achieved 13.0
•
Average award $852
•
Median award $850
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Treatment Group Fall Ineligible Reasons


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
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Control Group Statistics

Average GPA 2.861

Average credit achieved 13.13

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
CIGF – UMASS Boston
CIGF Implementation Challenges

Timing of implementation

System preparation

Soliciting student participation

Student support needed to answer
questions

Coordination of aid

Disbursing funds
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Soliciting Student Participation
•
1st Notification to students sent via email 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
email; due date October 5th
•
Early October Financial Aid reaches out to student
specific support liaisons such as CLA First, BPS, CSM
Success Center
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Coordination of Aid

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
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Coordinating Disbursement

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
CIGF – UMASS Boston
Program Benefits

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.
QUESTIONS
MASSACHUSETTS COMPLETION INCENTIVE GRANT FUND
(CIGF)
Download
Related flashcards

Pawn Stars

15 cards

Pawn shops

16 cards

Retirement communities

21 cards

Create Flashcards