Education Lab, Poverty Lab One Million Degrees

Community colleges are powerful vehicles for social mobility in the U.S., particularly for populations that have historically faced labor market challenges. First-generation and low-income students, for example, are much more likely to enroll in community colleges than in four-year institutions. Unfortunately, only one in four community college students graduates within three years.

While education leaders, recognizing the promise of community colleges, have worked to increase enrollment in these two-year programs, little is known about how best to support students to increase community college persistence and graduation.

The Education and Poverty Labs aim to address this challenge, partnering with Chicago nonprofit One Million Degrees (OMD) to evaluate the efficacy of OMD’s approach to improving graduation rates and preparing students for success in the labor market. OMD’s comprehensive program provides financial, academic, personal, and professional support to students. The evaluation seeks to determine which program components are most important. The evidence this study aims to generate could help nonprofit providers and community colleges nationwide give students the tools they need to succeed in post-secondary education, in the labor market, and in life.