You are here

Summer Nudging: Can Personalized Text Messages and Peer Mentor Outreach Increase College Going Among Low Income High School Graduates?

January 2014

Benjamin L. Castleman, Lindsay C. Page


This randomized experiment analyzes the usage of text messages to increase college attendance. Students in several school districts (across three states) were randomly assigned into three groups: a control group; a treatment group where students received text message reminders, help, and web-links to complete required pre-college activities (e.g. paperwork, orientation, placement tests); and a second control group where students were contacted by a peer mentor, who assessed the students’ readiness, talked them through required processes to ensure college readiness, and offered follow up conversations and meetings. Though results differed by location, both treatments had significant positive impacts on students’ likelihood of attending college.

Read Now

Policy Implications

The authors conclude that the text messaging program, at a cost of roughly $7 per student, was a very cost effective mechanism for increasing college matriculation. Further, they find these results to be especially significant is areas with little access to college planning. Therefore, regions with little college planning services available may be well served by the cost-effectiveness of a text-messaging program.

Find Similar Education Research