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Reducing Summer Melt

Photo credit (Creative Commons)

What is the issue?

Every year 20 to 30 percent of college-accepted high school graduates in urban districts fail to matriculate in college in the fall—a phenomenon known as “summer melt.”

What is the insight?

Sending students text message reminders about key tasks related to college matriculation, such as completing financial aid paperwork, have been found to increase first-year enrollment. By delivering these messages at times when students can take action, each reminder prompts direct action that supports college enrollment.

What was the intervention?

Personalized text messages were designed for students and parents, reminding them of critical tasks. The text messages also provided recipients with a connection to individualized college and financial aid advising.

What was the impact?

Among all students sent text messages, 68.0 percent enrolled in college in the fall compared with 64.9 percent of those not sent messages. Enrollment effects were larger for the lowest-income students and for first-generation students. Among low-income students, the text messages increased enrollment from 66.4 percent to 72.1 percent.

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