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

Castleman (2013)
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Summary by 
Mark Egan

The author uses RCTs to look at the efficacy of text message reminders and peer mentor outreach at increasing college entry among low-income students. The results show that an automated and personalized text messaging campaign to remind students of required college tasks increased college enrollment by 4-7%, with effects concentrated among students who resided in communities with low levels of educational attainment.A peer mentor intervention increased four-year college enrollment by 4.5%, with effects largest for males and students with less-defined college plans. Given the meagre costs - $7 per participant for the text message campaign and $80 per participant for the peer mentor campaign - both strategies are impressively cost-effective.