Combining Service and Learning in Higher Education

Evaluation of the Learn and Serve America, Higher Education Program

by Maryann Jacobi Gray, Elizabeth Heneghan Ondaatje, Ronald D. Fricker, Sandy A. Geschwind, Charles A. Goldman, Tessa Kaganoff, Abby Robyn, Melora Sundt, Lori Vogelgesang, Stephen P. Klein

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This report presents results of a three-year evaluation of Learn and Serve America, Higher Education (LSAHE), a program sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service that aims to increase involvement in community service by higher education institutions and students. LSAHE emphasizes an approach to community service, called service-learning, that focuses on the development of service providers as well as service recipients. Between 1995 and 1997, about one in every eight higher education institutions nationwide participated in LSAHE by developing service-learning courses and programs. The evaluation described the major activities and accomplishments of LSAHE-supported programs; assessed the impacts of LSAHE on students, communities, and institutions; and determined returns on the public investment in LSAHE. Results show that LSAHE was highly successful in serving communities and had mixed success in promoting student development and institutional change. Although expenditures exceeded the value of LSAHE to communities, value increased each year, suggesting that long-term positive returns may occur.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1

    Introduction

  • Chapter 2

    Conceptual Framework and Approach to the Evaluation

  • Chapter 3

    What Did LSAHE Programs Accomplish?

  • Chapter 4

    What Were the Impacts of Service-Learning on Students?

  • Chapter 5

    What Were LSAHE Impacts on Community Organizations?

  • Chapter 6

    How Did LSAHE Affect Higher Education Institutions?

  • Chapter 7

    What Was the Return on Investment to Communities?

  • Chapter 8

    Conclusions and Recommendations

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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