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Text-Based Nudges Boost College Enrollment [Report]

Nudges play a role of catalyst when it comes to high school students enrolling in a college or completing their college financial aid application process.

It was found in a study conducted jointly by the University of Pittsburgh, Brown University and University of Virginia researchers, which was published in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal.

The researchers picked up 39 schools in the Austin and Houston areas and randomly selected students to receive weekly text messages from their school counselors during spring 2015

The study found that text-based nudges from the school counselors were 17 percent more likely to push high school seniors to complete their financial support application and 8 percent more likely to enroll in college directly after graduating.

“Our results suggest that text-based nudging may be more successful when the outreach is coming from a trusted source that a student or family would expect to hear from,” said Lindsay C. Page, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

“If the outreach is coming from an individual or organization with whom the student has no obvious relationship, it may be seen as less credible and end up being less effective in shaping student behaviors.”

Students were 20 percent more likely to enroll in a four-year college as a result of text messages and 9 percent less likely to enroll in two-year colleges. It further found that FAFSA filers who were selected for income verification were significantly less likely to enroll in college immediately after high school.

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