Evaluation of Austin Community College’s Strengthening Institutions Program Grant: Annual Outcomes and Impacts Report
Authors: Ashweeta Patnaik, Greg Cumpton, and Cynthia Juniper
Date: September 2021
Publication Type: Report, 35pp.
Austin Community College (ACC) received a $1.7 million Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) in 2015 to develop programs to help students understand smart money management and college financing. The grant, “Achieving Student Success through Financial Aid Education and Financial Literacy,” funded initiatives to teach students about money management and to help the ACC community understand the connection between students’ academic and financial goals. The target population for ACC’s initiatives for the SIP grant was all first-time in college (FTIC) credential-seeking students.
Through this grant, ACC established the Student Money Management Office (SMMO) whose mission is to support Austin Community College student success by providing accessible and relevant money management education, enabling students to make informed financial decisions. SMMO’s activities included text message alerts about financial aid requirements and deadlines, financial literacy workshops for students, professional development for faculty and staff, outreach and awareness campaigns for students, creation of an online presence using various social media platforms, and enhancements to the online Degree Map planning tool to provide personalized real-time financial aid information.
ACC hoped to demonstrate that the activities of SMMO were linked to improvements in measures of student success such as retention rates, credential attainment rates, and cohort loan default rates. ACC partnered with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC), an organized research unit in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas, to perform an impact evaluation of the effectiveness of SMMO’s activities on the student outcome measures of interest, as well as an implementation evaluation.
This report examines the outcomes and impacts of grant-funded activities throughout the five-year grant period.
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