After nearly a year of hard work developing and modifying the Financial Coaching + Schools model and planning to run a randomized control trial (RCT), we finally started signing parents up for the study. The goal of the RCT is to determine if the FC + Schools program--which provides our products and services to low-income families of kids in grades 2-5--will have a statistically significant impact on the financial and health status of the parents, as well as on the educational outcomes of the children. For the study, we will randomly assign 375 families to a treatment group (they will receive our Financial Coaching service) and another 375 families to a control group (they won't receive the service and we will track their outcomes as a comparison point).
One of the concerns was how we were going to recruit 750 families for the study. In order to ensure strong parent recruitment, we have brought on six (6) full-time AmeriCorps VISTAs for the summer, and clearly the investment is bearing fruit: we already signed up 20 families!
This study is extremely exciting for us. If we can show that, for $400 per family per year, we can improve educational outcomes by, say, 5%, then we believe that school districts across the country will hire us to deliver the Program at their schools. We are also one of the smallest organizations in the US to run an RCT, something of which we are most proud: after all, it's one thing to tell feel-good stories about impact, but it's another to show statistically significant data on your impact.