The Role of Postsecondary Education in Welfare Reform: Ohio's JOBS Student Retention Program

Publication Date



Evaluation Review 26(6): 618-644


The 1996 federal welfare reform legislation encourages quick employment over education and training for the nation’s welfare recipients. However, some argue that a one-size-fits-all approach ignores the heterogeneity of this population. This article presents findings from a net impact evaluation of Ohio’s JOBS Student Retention Program (JSRP), a program designed to facilitate success for public assistance recipients at 2-year community or technical colleges. The authors evaluate this policy using state administrative data sets. The analyses consist of unadjusted and regression-adjusted comparisons of means for the JSRP group and a constructed comparison group. Outcomes examined include program completion, employment, earnings, and welfare recipiency. Focusing on the most recent 11 of 16 quarters of data available, the average increase in quarterly earnings was 8.45% for program participants and 12.91% for program completers. The results indicate that encouraging postsecondary education for some welfare recipients will boost earnings capacity and therefore long-term self-sufficiency.




Sage Publications


Funded by the State of Ohio

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Poverty and income support; Income support programs




Hollenbeck, Kevin M. and Jean Kimmel. 2002. "The Role of Postsecondary Education in Welfare Reform: Ohio's JOBS Student Retention Program." Evaluation Review 26(6): 618-644.