Social Programs That Work has released a new evidence summary on Learning Accounts, a demonstration program in New Brunswick, Canada that provided up to approximately $8,400 in conditional financial aid for post-secondary education to low-income 10th grade students. The students had to meet certain benchmarks (i.e., completion of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade) to receive the funding.
The program was evaluated through a randomized controlled trial with a sample of 1,145 low-income 10th graders in 30 high schools in New Brunswick, Canada. Within each school, the low-income students were randomly assigned to a group that was offered participation in the Learning Accounts program, or to a control group that received usual school services. Survey data was used to measure high school graduation rates, and administrative data was used to examine later graduation from college.
According to the evidence report, over the 10 years following random assignment, the program produced a 6.5 percentage point increase in the high school graduation rate, and 6.8 percentage point increase in the rate of postsecondary completion.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation have featured this evidence brief on their Straight Talk on Evidence site.