[bctt tweet=”The enormous financial inequalities in the United States are mirrored in education participation”]
The enormous financial inequalities in the United States are mirrored in education participation and completion rates: A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. Whilst it may be difficult to change the financial inequalities, it is possible to provide some educational assistance to the disadvantaged by providing motivational “nudges” at appropriate times.
Susan Dynarski, professor of economics, education and public policy at the University of Michigan, writing for The New York Times:
While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young professors designed and tested a program to help students stick to their college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman, now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized text messages that reminded high school students about their college deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live counselors.
[bctt tweet=”Providing a nudge: Students who received reminder texts were more likely to enroll in college”]
Susan Dynarski reports the results:
Students who received the texts were more likely to enroll in college: 70 percent, compared with 63 percent of those who did not get them. Seven percentage points is a big increase in this field, similar to the gains produced by scholarships that cost thousands of dollars. Yet this program cost only $7 per student.
The same researchers also tested a texting program to keep students from dropping out of college. The problem is important because the graduation rate of low-income college students is dismally low; two-thirds leave without a degree. Community college students received texts reminding them to complete their re-enrollment forms, particularly aid applications. Among freshmen who received the texts, 68 percent went on to complete their sophomore year, compared with 54 percent of those who got no nudges. This, too, is a big impact — especially for a program that cost only $5 per student.