Chapin Hall Launches Five-Year Study to Assess Chicago Scholars’ Impact

Institute for Education Science awards $2 million to evaluate program for under-resourced students

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago will conduct a randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of Chicago Scholars‘ initiatives to provide first-generation, low-income students with college preparation and success strategies.

In early September, Chapin Hall was awarded a $2 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Research (NCER) to conduct a five-year randomized controlled study of Chicago Scholars.  The program has worked with more than 5,000 first-generation and low-income students, providing academic support and leadership skills as they apply to and attend leading colleges and universities.

“This study will be instrumental in measuring the impact that our program has on our students,” said Jeffery Beckham, Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars. “It has the potential to be life-changing for students across the country as the results can be used to better inform policymakers and replicate our success in other college access and success programs around the nation.”

Throughout the multi-year trial, 1,100 students from under-resourced and underrepresented communities in Chicago will participate in the study. About half of the participants will undergo Chicago Scholars’ intensive seven-year college access and success programming. The other half will be referred to other college preparation and support programs in the local area. The study is designed to measure two primary outcomes: 1) college enrollment and student persistence during college and 2) the quality of colleges that students enroll in and each college’s track record for graduating similar students.

“At Chapin Hall, we are dedicated to providing decision-makers with rigorous research and tangible solutions to improve child and family well-being. This includes addressing the barriers we need to overcome to offer equitable resources and opportunities to students,” says Dr. Leah Gjertson, a senior researcher at Chapin Hall. “Chicago Scholars is doing important work, and we are excited to work with them to gain a better understanding of the impact their programs have on individual students and the greater Chicago community.”

The Chicago Scholars program offers guidance and resources throughout the college application process, and then provides support during the transition and throughout students’ college experience to ensure students thrive in college.  Compared to the 48 percent of Chicago Public School students who enroll and receive a college degree within six years, 83 percent of Chicago Scholars graduates receive a college degree within the same time period.

Chapin Hall staff designing and implementing this randomized control trial include include Dr. Robert Goerge, Dr. Leah Gjertson, Dr. Nick Mader and Reiko Kakuyama-Villaber

This research is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.