Money has little effect on academic success, study finds

A recent study has found you can’t put a price on grades.

University of Toronto professors Philip Oreopoulos and Tony Chambers recruited students from the university’s Scarborough campus to see if money could motivate them to get better grades.

“Around 30 per cent of Ontario university students drop out within six years of their program without completing a degree, and many others scrape by with the minimum requirements,” Oreopoulous said.

The study’s results weren’t exactly what the professors were expecting.

“The students did not respond much to the incentive,” Oreopoulos said.

The participant pool consisted of a selection of first- and second-year students relying on financial aid.

“Merit-based aid to those on need-based aid is more politically feasible to consider as a real policy than merit-based aid for everyone,” Oreopoulos said.

Every student with a grade average of 70 per cent was rewarded with $100, plus another $20 for each additional per cent. The money was rewarded for each single semester class.

“The largest total scholarship amount was about $5,700,” Oreopoulos said. “The group that appears to have improved the most from the program is second year males.”

Following the mediocre success of the program, Oreopoulos is looking ahead to find other ways to improve student success.

“I hope to carry out a faculty advisor program in the near future,” he said. “Other faculty members and I will follow students throughout their year to better understand how they study, what their distractions are and how they might improve.”