Uplifting Parents: Evaluating an Intervention to Promote Community College Persistence and Graduation Rates among Single Parents

Last registered on July 12, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Uplifting Parents: Evaluating an Intervention to Promote Community College Persistence and Graduation Rates among Single Parents
Initial registration date
July 12, 2021

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
July 12, 2021, 11:55 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

University of Notre Dame

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Notre Dame

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) has partnered with Catholic Social Services of Rapid City (CSS) to evaluate the Uplifting Parents Program (Program UP), an intervention designed to assist lower-income single parents obtain a college degree by providing comprehensive mentoring services and financial support. To evaluate the program, we will use a randomized control trial (RCT) design to test the hypothesis that the program improves graduation rates. Eligible parents are randomly assigned to either Program UP or a control group with 120 in each group. Results from this RCT will be disseminated to policy makers and providers across the county to inform the replication and expansion of programs designed to support single parents.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

evans, william and Sarah Kroeger. 2021. "Uplifting Parents: Evaluating an Intervention to Promote Community College Persistence and Graduation Rates among Single Parents." AEA RCT Registry. July 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7868-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information
Experimental Details


Uplifting Parents empowers single parents and provides support for their education or job training. The program serves single parents in the Rapid City, SD area who are motivated to complete a degree and begin a professional career. Whether completing an education or learning a new skill, those enrolled in Uplifting Parents receive the support they need to launch meaningful careers and provide greater opportunities for their children.

Uplifting Parents includes financial and mentoring resources like scholarship funds and stipends, case management, parenting classes, financial counseling, and community engagement opportunities. Perhaps the most important part of Uplifting Parents is the focus on mentoring. Participants form strong relationships with their mentors at Catholic Social Services, and mentors help navigate potential crises that can hinder a parent’s success.

Single parents must be referred to Uplifting Parents by an employer or other social service agency in order to participate. After referral, parents must complete an in-depth application and interview process before receiving a spot in the program. Once admitted to the program, participants engage with their mentor and receive supports and wraparound services for two years.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
a) College Completion -- degree or certificate obtained
b) College Persistence -- which is you are still enrolled in college and/or you have already received a degree
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
a) Future Outcomes - Earnings from unemployment insurance records
b) Outcomes of children in school
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We have collected identifying information about the children of the parents in the program and we hope to use this match to public school records in the rapid city area sometime in the future. These outcomes are well off in the future as many of the children are of preschool age at the time their parents enter the program.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Among those deemed eligible for the program, a list with randomly-generated applicant IDs is sent to LEO, and the research team randomly assigns approximately half into treatment and the rest to the comparison sample. UP staff can handle 40 new applicants a year, so the capacity of the program determines how many applicants are assigned to the treatment group within each cohort. If there are 30 eligible candidates and 14 spots in UP, 16 candidates are assigned to the control group. If a person is assigned to the control group, they are ineligible for UP. There are currently no plans to open up enrollment in UP for this group.
Although there are similarities between UP and other programs that also incorporate mentoring, UP stands out for several key reasons: its focus on single parents, the ongoing, monthly financial support, the support provided by the coalition agencies in addition to the primary mentoring structure, and the low student-mentor ratio. UP’s $200 monthly stipend is paid to all participants for the full two years of the program, without any additional requirements or conditions.
During the application process, participants consent to be followed in administrative records. The key outcomes for this evaluation are centered on the parent: their level of education and labor market success. LEO plans to measure college enrollment and graduation through National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data. All of the colleges that a student can attend in the Rapid City area are members of the NSC. LEO also plans to measure economic outcomes using earnings data and TANF and SNAP enrollment from the state of South Dakota. A data sharing agreement with the state is in progress. Earlier this year, LEO established a data sharing agreement with the local school district to track outcomes of the children of the parents, although this will most likely not be part of this initial study.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization Unit
Individual students
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
0 clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
240 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 students control, 120 students treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We used data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate Associate Degree completion rates among single mothers aged 19-24 in South Dakota. Of those mothers without a college degree, 12.2 percent of them had gained an Associate Degree by the 2011-2015 period. We then use 12.2 percent as an estimate of our baseline completion rate. Assuming an experiment with 240 participants and half the group in the treatment sample, our sample will be powered to detect a statistically significant difference in graduation rates of 14.2 percentage points. This means that if 26.4 percent of the treatment group obtains an Associate Degree or higher, we will be able to reject the null hypothesis that the graduation rates are the same across the two groups.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

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


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials