Affording Degree Completion

An Experimental Study of Completion Grants at Accessible Public Universities

December 15, 2022

Increasing equity in graduation rates and reducing time-to-degree are central concerns for colleges and universities around the country. With the price of college higher than ever, difficulty paying for college is a reality for most students. Financial shortfalls in the final years of college, created by escalating costs and/or declining financial aid, lead many students to leave college without degrees in hand. One increasingly common approach is providing completion grants to students who are nearing the finish line but facing financial challenges. Completion grants are awarded based on need, measured through administrative data and are awarded proactively, not requiring an application.  

This study is the first to rigorously examine the efficacy of completion grants across a broad range of public universities with a large sample of students.