Research Study of Austin Community College’s Rainy Day Savings Program
Date: August 2021
Publication Type: Report, 28pp.
With funding support from Trellis Foundation, the Student Money Management Office (SMMO) at Austin Community College (ACC) is implementing the Rainy Day Savings Program, modeled after the success of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). In the Rainy Day Savings program, students earn up to $100 in cash incentives while working to amass at least $500 in savings. ACC has partnered with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) at The University of Texas at Austin to study the effectiveness of the Rainy Day Savings program.
In this interim report, RMC researchers examined program participation patterns and early program outcomes. A comparison of pre- and post- financial well-being measures suggests that by helping build up participants’ savings and financial cushions, the program helped increase participants’ perceived financial well-being. The level of participation and the amount saved varied considerably among active program participants. Program participation (including incentive take-up) and outcomes were also disaggregated by participant characteristics to identify equity gaps. Results suggest that women, underrepresented minorities, and students with children likely need additional prompts and assistance to complete the tasks necessary to earn the incentives. In the next report, researchers will use administrative data from ACC to study the program’s impact on student success outcomes such as retention.