We are tasked with analyzing some proposals for providing childcare subsidies for college students with the goal of increasing timely degree completion.

We propose a subsidy program that would give eligible students $10,000 per year to pay for child care to make class attendance and school work easier to manage in the belief that this will increase academic achievement and make finishing the degree more likely.

We have ascertained that there are different completion rates based on current GPA with A students more likely to complete than B etc. But we also know that there are more single parents in the lower grade ranges (related, we suspect to the challenges of going to school while trying to raise children).
We also know that the current grad rate by GPA varies from a high of 75% for A students to a low of 20% for D students. One issue we anticipate is that we cannot know whether we are giving a grant to a student who would already graduate on time without the assistance. We will treat the existing graduation rate for each GPA level as a measure of this phenomenon (that is, we expect that 75% of the A students who get the subsidy would have graduated anyway - we recognize that this likely UNDERCOUNTS the number who would benefit since we think parenting is one of the things that influences the 25% who do not graduate).

We estimate that even with the support of the subsidy, the likelihood that it will result in a given student graduating on time is related to the student's current academic performance. We think the success rate from the subsidy alone will be about 90% for A students and about 40% for D students.

Finally, we think we need to keep a positive grade incentive in the picture so we can't only offer the program to students with lower grades. In fact, we think we have to say that the number of slots reserved for A students has to be greater than or equal to the number of Bs which has to be greater than or equal to the number of Cs etc.

What numbers of slots should we aim for if our goal is to maximize the number of degree completions. Each subsidy costs 10,000 and we have 750,000 to fund the project.


What would be an optimal mix of slots for A, B, C, and D students?
If this were managed by lottery, how would you sell/explain the idea that an A student might not get a grant while a B or C student did?


Create a causal loop diagram related to this project. Be as inventive as you wish.

  • Student stress * Parenting stress * Number of kids * Academic preparation * Family economic background * Academic performance (e.g., GPA) * Initial enrollment in junior college * Persistence * Completion of AA * Transfer to 4 year * Persistence * Degree completion

Other things we should consider?


Some of our subsidies won't be used - students drop out at mid-semester or from year to year - and some might have to be extended slightly to help students finish in, say, just one more semester. And some students will "age out" as their kids exceed the eligibility age before they complete their degree. Further, some students enter the program at year one, others year two, etc. Build a stock and flow model that will give us a sense of how many students we can support at a time for a given budget.

Let's assume that our first time recipients are 40,30,20,10% 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. And that the drop out rate from year to year is 25%. And that each year we grant 20% of the seniors an extra semester of funding (half a year's amount).

How many new grants can we make each year if we want to keep the number of grants active at any one time under 200?