Stay the Course Replication

Last registered on June 19, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Stay the Course Replication
Initial registration date
June 19, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 19, 2020, 3:29 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame
PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study evaluates the replication of a community college intervention program, Stay the Course, that is designed to address the “life barriers” – as distinct from specific academic barriers – that challenge many economically-disadvantaged students. The key components of the intervention are coaching/mentoring services and emergency financial assistance.

The goal of this replication project is to implement the Stay the Course program with fidelity to the original intervention model and to assess the impact of this model in other settings. A replication study is important in order to test the generalizability of the Stay the Course model and to determine whether this is an intervention that can be prescribed broadly to lift low-income students out of poverty. The program was first implemented and evaluated at a large community college in Fort Worth, TX (AEARCTR-0000223). The program is being replicated in four community colleges located in Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, and Missouri.

We will use administrative records to track student academic outcomes for at least three years post random assignment. The main outcomes of interest are total credit hours completed, re-enrollment rates, and degrees or certificates obtained. Demographic data obtained from student records will be used to investigate how treatment effects vary across student subgroups.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Kroeger, Sarah , Grace Ortuzar and James Sullivan. 2020. "Stay the Course Replication." AEA RCT Registry. June 19.
Experimental Details


Study subjects are randomly selected to receive services through a program called Stay the Course. This program is designed to help income students succeed in a community college setting. Stay the Course has two key components: full-service, wrap-around case management and access to emergency financial assistance. In the case management component, a trained social service provider from outside the college works individually with a student to address their personal challenges and create a holistic, long-term plan for educational success. This service helps students to navigate the community college system and absorb shocks in their personal life that threaten their ability to complete a degree. Emergency Financial Assistance provides students with resources to cover emergency non-academic expenses or income shortfalls that could negatively impact their persistence in college.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Credit hours completed, GPA, degree completion, transfers to four year college, time to completion
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Students eligible for services will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: Treatment (which includes case management and eligibility for emergency financial assistance), or the comparison sample.
Case management services will help students navigate the complexities of school (registering for classes, applying for and collecting financial aid, course selection). Case managers will also help students deal with everyday life obstacles that may prevent them from getting a degree, such as help finding a new babysitter, assist parents in enrolling their children in Head Start, helping with tax returns, etc.
Students in the treatment arm are also eligible for emergency financial assistance. Students can receive grants totaling no more than $500/semester or $1500 in total over a three year period.

The evaluation of the intervention will be performed primarily using administrative data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The primary outcome is college completion.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
960 study participants over the four sites (480 assigned to STC and 480 assigned to the control group)
Sample size: planned number of observations
960 study participants over the four sites (480 assigned to STC and 480 assigned to the control group)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
960 study participants over the four sites (480 assigned to STC and 480 assigned to the control group)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Notre Dame
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number