Challenges to Implementation of scholarships

 Challenges to Implementation Perhaps the biggest challenge in implementing performance-based scholarships is identifying funds to be used for these scholarships. In the study, the bulk of the scholarships were provided by foundations, but colleges had to identify a source for a matching contribution from their own financial aid funds. With limited resources, colleges may find funding their part of the scholarships difficult, especially with competing financial aid priorities. Another challenge is communication. Most important, students must be clear on what they need to do in order to receive the money. Colleges must be careful to craft marketing materials and communications that are clear and concise for students. Colleges in the study found that it was helpful to inform students about scholarship details through multiple modes, including in person during intake, hardcopy via mail, and electronic copy via email. In addition, students received regular reminders about the scholarships at many sites. 

Emerging Factors for Success and Potential Implications Performance-based scholarships are paid in addition to Pell grants and other state and local financial aid for students, and thus its results can only speak to the impact of their use on top of the existing aid structure. However, in a time where policy makers are looking for more ways to make financial aid more effective, there are some notable differences in the delivery of performance-based scholarships that could be relevant to current and future aid and scholarship programs: Performance-based scholarships are paid directly to students. 

This creates a potentially powerful tool to signal to students what is expected of them in terms of enrollment (e.g., full-time versus part-time) and academic performance, and means that this scholarship is potentially more salient to students versus other forms of aid that are paid directly to the students’ institutions. Performance-based scholarships create an opening for more constant communication with students. In this way, an aspect of student support is built into financial aid. Indeed, colleges that incorporate student services with the scholarship have seen bigger impacts than those that do not. Performance-based scholarships are generally paid in increments over the semester. This means that students get their aid over the entire semester, rather than in a large lump sum. Students may be encouraged to consistently work towards an end goal while receiving modest benefits along the way, which also keeps the benchmarks salient to students. In addition, 

students may be able to make better financial decisions throughout the term with this type of disbursement schedule. The Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration is ongoing, but its early impacts across sites are promising for student retention and credit accumulation. For more information, see Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn, Paulette Cha, Monica Cuevas, Amanda Grossman, Reshma Patel, and Colleen Sommo. 2009. Paying for College Success: An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration. New York: MDRC. Project contact: Lashawn Richburg-Hayes,

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