Building Rigorous Evidence about How to Improve Postsecondary Success – Jan 31

Posted by Laura and John Arnold Foundation on January 15, 2019

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s (LJAF) core objective is to advance solutions that maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. Its investments are focused on criminal justice, education, health care, and several other key areas. LJAF has offices in Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

We believe high-quality education is an engine of social mobility and should be accessible to learners of all ages, leading to lives filled with opportunity. Our work seeks to increase the quality of student outcomes and lower the costs. In higher education, we study promising programs that address barriers to student success, support the development of model policies, and educate public policy-makers to create lasting change.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is soliciting research and evaluation project proposals to test interventions related to postsecondary success (including but not limited to student learning, persistence, completion, time to completion, job placement, and post-college earnings). We are particularly interested in interventions that promise to improve success among underserved students, such as low-income students, students of color, adult students, and veterans. LJAF has committed up to $10 million for these solicitations.

This RFP is soliciting research and evaluation project proposals of two types:
● Innovation Tier. First, recognizing that many innovative ideas will not be ready for larger-scale evaluations of impact until they can be successfully piloted, we are soliciting proposals to faithfully implement and study postsecondary interventions that are supported by compelling logic by performing pilots at small scale.

● Validation Tier. Second, we are seeking proposals to rigorously evaluate interventions that either have highly promising prior evidence or are widely implemented, in order to build policy-important evidence about “what works” to increase postsecondary success in a cost-effective manner. We strongly prefer randomized controlled trials (RCTs) but may consider rigorous quasi-experimental evaluations with strong designs under certain conditions.

We are interested in interventions across a range of postsecondary settings, including both 2- and 4-year institutions. Although our primary interest is interventions offered within a postsecondary setting, proposals related to other settings (e.g., high school, prisons) with a clear focus on postsecondary success are also welcome.

For both types, the letter of interest (maximum 3 pages) is due by January 31, 2019. For applicants notified by March 15, 2019 that they are invited to submit a full proposal (maximum 6-10 pages), this would be due by April 19, 2019.

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