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ERIC Number: ED544203
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
WWC Review of the Report “Information and College Access: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment.” What Works Clearinghouse Single Study Review
What Works Clearinghouse
The study reviewed in this paper examined the impact of offering financial aid informational materials on the postsecondary expectations of high school students. Approximately 5,000 students from five low-achieving high schools in Ontario, Canada, were invited to complete an online survey about their postsecondary aspirations. About 1,600 students did so, and after completing the survey, were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Students in the intervention group were first shown an online 3-minute video about the costs and typical yearly earnings associated with postsecondary education. Next, students were invited to try out a financial aid calculator to help estimate their college costs. Finally, students were given the financial aid application package for local postsecondary institutions, along with instructions on how to apply for aid. Students in the comparison group did not receive any of the informational materials described above. The study measured the impact of offering these materials on student postsecondary expectations 3 weeks after the intervention. The authors reported, and the WWC confirmed, a statistically significant impact of offering the informational materials on the educational expectations of the high school students in the study, with a larger percentage of students in the intervention group expecting to attend postsecondary education (88 percent) than in the comparison group (82 percent). The strongest effects were observed 3 weeks after the intervention for students who reported being unsure about their postsecondary plans before the intervention (64 percent in the intervention group vs. 42 percent in the comparison group). There was also a statistically significant difference between the intervention and comparison groups for students who were initially certain that they would attend a postsecondary institution (93 percent in the intervention group reported that they would attend a postsecondary institution during the second survey, vs. 89 percent in the comparison group). The research described in this report meets WWC evidence standards without reservations. This study is a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. It measured postsecondary enrollment expectations, not actual enrollment. [The following study is the focus of this “Single Study Review:” Oreopoulos, P., and Dunn, R. (2012).”Information and college access: Evidence from a randomized field experiment” (NBER Working Paper No. 18551). Retrieved from] The following are appended: (1) Study details; (2) Outcome measures for the postsecondary enrollment domain; (3) Study findings for the postsecondary enrollment domain; and (4) Supplemental findings by domain. A glossary of terms is included. (Contains 2 endnotes.)
What Works Clearinghouse. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 866-503-6114; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: What Works Clearinghouse (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Canada
IES Funded: Yes