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ERIC Number: ED562330
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Intensive College Counseling and the College Enrollment Choices of Low Income Students
Castleman, Benjamin L.; Goodman, Joshua
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
While college enrollment among low-income students has increased steadily over the last decade, the share of students from the lowest-income families that enroll in college continues to lag considerably behind college entry rates among the highest income students. Furthermore, gaps in college completion by family income have only widened over time. Historically, policy interventions to ameliorate socioeconomic inequalities in college entry and success have focused primarily on increasing college access among students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds. A more recent set of policy interventions has emerged to: (1) guide students to choose colleges where they have a good probability of earning a degree without incurring excessive debt; and (2) provide ongoing support to students once they have matriculated in college. Though community-based college advising programs have existed for decades, there is relatively little causal evidence documenting their impact on important student outcomes, including the quality and affordability of institution at which students enroll and whether they persist and succeed in college. This study evaluates the impact of an intensive college advising program on low-income students' college enrollment and persistence. The analyses was conducted with Bottom Line, a non-profit organization that provides intensive college advising to students during their senior year of high school and works with students to develop lists of well-matched colleges and universities to which they can apply. The sample consisted of nearly 3,000 Bottom Line applicants from the classes of 2010 through 2012 who had valid (i.e. non-missing) GPAs and were successfully merged to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's data. Data for this analysis came from Bottom Line, from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Findings include: (1) Intensive college advising offered by Bottom Line induces a substantial number of students to enroll in one of the encouraged four-year colleges rather than in discouraged four-year colleges or two-year colleges; (2) This effect is particularly strong for students from families where English is not the first language; (3) Treatment reduces the average net price of the institutions students are attending; and (4) There is suggestive but not conclusive evidence of increases in overall four-year college enrollment and persistence through the first two years of college. The authors argue that this evidence suggests that intensive college advising can have meaningful impacts on college enrollment decisions, and may improve persistence and degree completion.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts