Study of College Transition Messaging in GEAR UP: Impacts on Enrolling and Staying in College
From the report summary: "The report, Study of College Transition Messaging in GEAR UP: Impacts on Enrolling and Staying in College, presents results from an evaluation with about 4,800 college-intending seniors in high-need high schools participating in the federal college access program Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The seniors were randomly divided into a group that received their regular GEAR UP supports in the summer before and during their expected first year of college and another group that received these regular supports along with text messages. The study compared the experiences and college enrollment patterns of the two groups of students to determine the transition messaging’s effectiveness. Key findings include:
- Students sent text messages were no more likely to enroll or persist in college than were other students. The messages also did not affect whether students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Messaging went as planned, but the information students and advisors had may have been among the factors that limited its effectiveness. Students and their mostly high school-based GEAR UP advisors communicated back and forth via texting. But each advisor supported an average of 40 students dispersed to 8 colleges; providing college-specific information for that caseload may have been challenging. Also, the students might have had more college advising and knowledge in high school than students in other texting studies where transition messaging showed some benefits."