• Impact of Transportation Supports on Students’ Academic Outcomes: A Quasi-Experimental Study of the U-Pass at Rio Hondo College

      The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Temple University); DVP-PRAXIS LTD (Temple University. The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, 2021-09)
      For many students, transportation presents a barrier to college completion. In 2020–21, the average commuter student could expect to spend nearly one-fifth of their total living expenses on transportation costs. Transportation programs have the potential to offer students some relief—and help them reach college graduation—yet more rigorous research on these programs’ benefits is needed. This brief provides results from a quasi-experimental study on the impact of transportation supports on short- and longer-term academic outcomes for community college students at Rio Hondo College. Established in 2016 as a partnership between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (LA Metro) and participating area colleges and universities, including Rio Hondo College, the Universal College Student Transit Pass (U-Pass) provides college students with deeply discounted transit fares. Findings from this study suggest that transportation supports like U-Pass offer a promising strategy for increasing the likelihood that students will: remain enrolled one semester and one year later; complete a greater number of credits; and, earn a credential. While more research on similar programs is needed, these findings suggest that free- and reduced-cost transit fares could play a critical role in helping students earn college credentials.