GreenLight Fund uAspire’s Afford Program: Year 4 Final Evaluation Report

Program/Intervention: 
Afford
Implementing Organization: 
uAspire
Intermediary(s): 
GreenLight Fund
Summary: 
uAspire’s Afford program offers workshops and individual advising on college affordability to high school seniors. The Afford program’s core curricular activities are focused on supporting students through three financial aid milestones. uAspire believes that equipping students with critical college affordability information, resources, and individualized supports will allow students to be better prepared to:
  • consider college within their financial reach,
  • navigate the financial aid process successfully, and
  • find an affordable path to and through college.
Study Goals:
The implementation evaluation provides data about how the program is being implemented, who received the services, and the factors that challenged implementation of the program. The impact evaluation seeks to show the Afford program’s effectiveness at a moderate level.
 
Research Questions:
The research questions for the implementation evaluation were:
  • Were uAspire services implemented as planned?
  • What were the number and characteristics of treatment students participating in the Afford program? Were there differences in student characteristics across treatment and control groups? What were the differences in school characteristics?
  • What challenged implementation of the Afford program? How were challenges overcome?
The research questions for the impact evaluation were:
  • Do students participating in the Afford program complete the FAFSA/CA Dream Act application with greater frequency, accuracy, and/or fewer missed deadlines compared to control group students?
  • Do students participating in the Afford program cite financial aid and/or cost of attendance as factors in their college decision more than control group students?
  • Do students participating in the Afford program report higher understanding of the financial aid process and higher beliefs that college can be affordable compared to control group students?
  • Do students participating in the Afford program report completing more steps in the financial aid process compared to control group students?
  • Do students participating in the Afford program leverage different types of aid compared to control group students? What types of financial aid dollars and what levels of estimated bill do Afford students leverage?
  • Do students participating in the Afford program receive Cal Grants at higher rates compared to control group students?
Findings:
The evaluation found the following:
  • The program was implemented with fidelity.
  • Afford participants were statistically more likely to submit the FAFSA/CA Dream Act application with greater accuracy than control group participants.
  • Afford participants were statistically more likely to report higher understanding of the financial aid process and had higher beliefs that college can be affordable compared to control group students.
  • Findings of the QED show that uAspire had a greater impact on treatment students who received all three core curricular activities than it had on the entire treatment group who only completed some of the core activities.

For more information, download the full report and report brief.

CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
Study Design(s): 
Experimental (RCT)
Quasi-Experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence: 
Moderate
Evaluator: 
WestEd
Year Published: 
2018
Date Posted Online: 
March 4, 2019
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