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

Castleman (2013)
Ben Castleman
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.