To initiate the study, a random sample of 600 new freshmen enrolled for the fall 2005 semester was drawn. Four weeks into the semester, students received a letter from the Chancellor and Provost explaining the purpose of the CLA and inviting them to participate. Incentives for participation included a $30 stipend, priority registration for spring 2006 and fall 2007 semesters, and a chance to win one of three $100 door prizes in a drawing. The random sample yielded fewer than the 300 participants required by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE); therefore, all new freshmen enrolled for the fall 2005 semester were invited to participate. Two hundred and ninety-three students elected to participate in the study.
The second phase of the study was conducted in spring 2007 when students were second semester sophomores. Two hundred and ten of the 293 original study participants agreed to participate in the second phase. Eighty-three students did not participate because they were: no longer enrolled at UNC Charlotte; studying abroad at the time of the second phase; ineligible because they had not completed the number of credited hours required by CAE, or no longer interested. Incentives offered to students for participating in the second phase of the study included a $30 stipend; priority registration for fall 2007, spring 2008, and fall 2008 semesters; and a chance to win one of three $100 door prizes in a drawing.
The third and final phase of the study was conducted in spring 2009 when students were second semester seniors. One hundred and fourteen of the 293 original study participants agreed to participate. Because students were completing their last semester at UNC Charlotte and priority registration was no longer an incentive, the stipend for participation was increased to $75. In lieu of a drawing for (3) $100 door prizes, performance incentives were offered (data from CAE revealed that, on average, UNC Charlotte students were spending about 30 minutes to complete a 90 minute test suggesting that students were not taking the test seriously). Performance stipends awarded to the 25 students earning the highest scores were as follows: (2) $250 stipends, (3) $150 stipends, and (20) $50 stipends.