Going Beyond Free College: Initial Findings on College Success with Supplemental Coaching and Grants

Author: Celeste Carruthers, Emily Pratt

Publication Date: February 14, 2024

We examine the relationship between short-term success in college and student take-up of supplemental coaching and financial aid. These extra supports were made available to some students participating in Tennessee’s “free community college” program starting in fall 2018. We use residence, income, and other eligibility criteria to understand how coaching and additional grants are associated with persistence into a second year of college, or receipt of an early college credential in the first year. Results indicate that students who were more engaged with their coaches were significantly more likely to re-enroll in college for a second year or complete an early credential. Students who received supplemental grants, often for emergencies or unanticipated expenses, were not more or less likely than others to persist into a second year of college or earn an early postsecondary credential.

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