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Research & methodology

Continuous improvement is a core part of the Chicago Scholars culture, and we can’t maintain it without robust data and analysis. Read on to find out about how we protect our students and their data, how we assess our programming, and the randomized control trial we’re participating in with Chapin Hall.

Impact metrics

Our impact metrics, released to the public on February 6, 2024, are our first look at the social impact of Chicago Scholars’ programming. In collaboration with McKinsey & Company and Chicago Community Consultants, we examined the impact of Chicago Scholars programming on our students’ lifetime earnings, financial social contributions, and more. 

Read the full methodology report from our partners here. 

Randomized Control Trial

Chicago Scholars is partnering with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to conduct a randomized control to evaluate college enrollment and success for program participants. This research is supported by a $2 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education (NCER), U.S. Department of Education (Grant R305A210484). More than 1,700 students from under-resourced and underrepresented communities in Chicago are participating in the multi-year study.  About two thirds of the participants will undergo Chicago Scholars’ intensive seven-year college access and success programming. The other third will be referred to other college preparation and support programs in the area. The study is designed to measure (1) college enrollment and student persistence during college and (2) the quality of colleges that students enroll in and each college’s track record for graduating similar students. Additional data on study design is available here.  

Randomized Control Trials represent the gold standard of social research by operating with the same rigor as a medical trial. Because the treatment and control groups have been assigned at random, any difference between the two groups can be attributed to the intervention of the Chicago Scholars program. We are committed to using this highest burden of proof to ensure that our program meets our stated goals of improving college matriculation, persistence, and graduation for high achieving first generation and low-income students. 

Data Collection Policy and Scholar Safety

Chicago Scholars stores all Scholar data within our encrypted CRM. We will never sell a student’s data to third parties. Data collected are used to support individual Scholars and inform our programming. Aggregated data are shared with funders and established community partners as needed. Sensitive data and files are deleted annually once no longer required for program operations