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ERIC Number: ED562791
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
Freshman Year Financial Aid Nudges: An Experiment to Increase Financial Aid Renewal and Sophomore Year Persistence
Castleman, Benjamin L.; Page, Lindsay C.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
While considerable effort has been invested to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors, there has been much less investment to ensure that college freshmen re-apply for financial aid. Text messaging is a promising approach to inform students of important stages in the financial aid re-application process and to connect them to professional assistance when they need help. Building on a previous experiment, this paper examines and investigates the impact of financial aid-related prompts on whether college freshman re-apply for aid and persist into sophomore year. This study provides rigorous, experimental evidence on the impact of freshman-year financial aid text reminders on students' college persistence. The experimental sample includes students who were assigned to the summer 2012 text messaging treatment group and who were enrolled in college in Fall 2012. 774 students met these conditions. Researchers randomly assigned 387 students to receive the freshman year financial aid text messaging intervention and 384 students to the control group. By virtue of using a randomized control trial design to select which students would receive the financial aid texts, researchers are able to employ straightforward regression analyses to isolate the causal effect of the messaging campaign on students' college attainment. Preliminary data indicates a substantial response from students to the financial aid nudges. These findings are relevant both to ongoing policy efforts to increase college success and completion among low-income students and, more generally, to efforts to harness technology to improve students' educational outcomes. Figures are appended.
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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations