Absence of conflict of interest.
The study’s objective was to examine the impact of additional grant funds—beyond what is typically received through Teach For America’s (TFA) Transitional Grants and Loans program—on whether TFA candidates accepted employment as teachers. The authors investigated similar research questions for another contrast, the profile of which is available here.
This study used a randomized controlled trial design. The findings are based on TFA’s Transitional Grants and Loans program data. The authors used a regression analysis that controlled for demographics, such as age and gender, to explore the relationship between being offered a larger grant and employment.
The study found no relationship between being offered a larger grant amount and employment.
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to TFA’s Transitional Grants and Loans program and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.
Features of the Intervention
TFA is a selective program that recruits individuals, many from highly ranked U.S. colleges and universities, to teaching positions. TFA’s Transitional Grants and Loans program provides TFA teachers with funds to support the transition to teaching through a grant or loan. Recipients can use the funds to cover transition costs such as travel, moving, and certification fees; however, there are no restrictions on use.
To apply for the Transitional Grants and Loans program, TFA candidates complete an application that requests information about their debts and savings, salary, dependents, and portions of their federal tax returns and Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Because the application is extensive, TFA candidates typically apply after they have accepted a TFA position.
The amount of funds provided through the Transitional Grants and Loans program can range from a $500 loan to a grant of more than $8,000. The amount is the TFA candidate’s expected expense minus their expected contributions. Candidates’ expected expenses are calculated based on their training and employment locations and whether they need to relocate. Their expected contribution is based on measures such as their savings amount, amount of parental support, and number of dependents.
In this study, some teachers received additional grants or loans beyond the typical amount.
Features of the Study
This study used a randomized controlled trial design. Individuals accepted to be TFA teachers were randomly assigned into study groups. In the study’s first year and first half of the second year, individuals were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the control group, a treatment group that received an additional $600 grant, or a treatment group that received an additional $600 loan. In the second half of the second year, individuals were randomly assigned to one of four groups: either one of the three groups previously described or a fourth treatment group in which individuals received a $1,200 grant. In the third year, individuals who had the highest financial need based on their expected contribution calculation were randomly assigned to one of four groups as previously described. Individuals who were in the top 80 percent were randomly assigned to a control group, to a treatment group that received an additional $1,800 grant, or to a treatment group that received an additional $1,800 loan.
This profile focuses on the treatment group that was offered a grant of $600, $1,200, or $1,800 compared to the control group that was offered only the grants or loans typically provided by TFA. The study also examined the effects of receiving a larger loan than a teacher would typically receive, which is reported in a separate profile. The authors used a regression analysis that controlled for demographic characteristics of sample members to explore the relationship between the additional grant amount and whether candidates accepted a teaching position, as measured by whether they attended their first day of employment. The findings are based on TFA’s Transitional Grants and Loans program data. The study included 7,295 individuals from across the United States who were accepted into TFA and applied to the Transitional Grants and Loans program. The majority of the sample was female (76 percent), a third of the sample was White (34 percent), and the average age was 26 years.
Employment. There was no relationship between being offered an additional grant amount beyond the control award and employment. In other words, results suggest that receiving an additional $600, $1,200, or $1,800 of grant funds did not influence TFA candidates to begin employment in a teaching position through TFA.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Probabilities of assignment to each group varied over time and by decile of expected contribution. The authors account for these changes in their analysis.
Causal Evidence Rating
This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to TFA’s Transitional Grants and Loans program and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.