EPI faculty and affiliates receive nearly $10 million through four national education research (NCER) grants 

July 13, 2022

Four research projects conducted by affiliates of the Education Policy Initiative (EPI) at the University of Michigan received a total of nearly $10 million in new grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education.

Each of the EPI faculty co-directors and several affiliated researchers got support for projects ranging from studying the longitudinal effects of Boston’s pre-K program, examining approaches to college affordability, evaluating a U-M project delivering mental health support to Detroit public schools students, and providing insight on career and technical education.  

EPI faculty co-director Kevin Stange, joined in the research by Ford School associate professors Katherine Michelmore and Megan Tompkins-Stange, received a $2.7 million grant to explore Early First-Dollar Categorical Need-Based Aid: A New Model for Making College Affordable?. The project will “evaluate how the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), a large first-dollar aid program in Michigan, impacts postsecondary outcomes for low-income high school students,” the first rigorous evaluation of its kind, which aims to yield broader lessons for college affordability policy in other states and at the federal level. 

EPI faculty co-director Christina Weiland, working with Rebecca Unterman of MDRC and EPI-affiliate Anna Shapiro at the University of Virginia, received $1.5 million to continue to follow the progress of more than 12,000 students in Boston as they have advanced from pre-K to 4th grade and through age 20. Longitudinal Impacts of the Boston Prekindergarten Program Through Early Adulthood will produce actionable and relevant information which can “inform public preschool decisions and investments in Massachusetts and other states.”

For Evaluating the Impact of TRAILS on Academic and Behavioral Health Outcomes in Detroit Public School Students, Robin Tepper Jacob, EPI affiliate and associate research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and School of Education, was awarded $3.8 million. Jacob—also faculty co-director and founder of the Youth Policy Lab—and her team will examine the efficacy of a TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students), a U-M program “that promotes utilization of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by providing school mental health professionals (SMHPs) curriculum resources, training, and post-training implementation support to sustain uptake and use of best practices.“ Key metrics for the study include the mental health and academic performance of students in Detroit Public Schools Community District. She is working with Elizabeth Koschmann, U-M professor of psychology and director of TRAILS.

EPI affiliates and former postdoctoral research fellows Daniel Kreisman and Thomas Goldring, who are both at the Georgia Policy Labs at Georgia State University, also received $1.7 million for research on career and technical education CTE Teacher Labor Markets, Attributes, and Student Outcomes. Their team will look at the overall CTE teacher workforce, examine attrition and other challenges of CTE teacher staffing, and correlate how student outcomes vary by CTE teacher characteristics. 

The awards, administered through the National Center for Education Research (NCER), Education Research Grants Program 2022 awards, support research “to improve the quality of education for all students—prekindergarten through postsecondary and adult education,” the announcement stated. For its FY 2022 competition, NCER awarded a total of 45 grants, an investment of more than $92 million across various content areas and project types.

The research team led by Stange, Michelmore, and Tompkins-Stange will be supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A220070. Weiland and Unterman’s research will be supported by IES Grant R305A220036. The evaluation that will be led by Jacob and Koschmann will be supported by Grant R305A220073. Finally, research led by Kreisman and Goldring will be supported by Grant R305A220172.