Promising Practice:

Private Programs Guaranteeing Student Aid for Higher Education

PEMD-90-16: Published: Jun 22, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined various private-sector organizations which have established guaranteed aid and support programs to help disadvantaged students.

GAO found that: (1) the private-sector programs are promising because of their participants' significant efforts, generally plausible program designs, and some early indications of positive results; (2) only modest program data were being kept and evaluation efforts were uncertain; (3) there were major differences across four types of programs, including the number of students involved, the extent of services offered, and annual operating expenses; (4) the most comprehensive were sponsorship programs in which an individual or donor provided intensive academic help, mentoring, and other services to needy students; and (5) the least intensive were pay-for-grades programs, in which a donor provided few services but put modest funds, based on students' grades, into accounts for use later in paying higher education expenses.

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