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Report Examines Text Messaging as a Possible Means of Increasing College Enrollment Among Adults

A new IES report, Possible Ways of Increasing College Access Among Adults from Underserved Backgrounds: A Study of College Transition Text-Based Messaging, examines the effectiveness of customized text messages in increasing college enrollment rates among adults receiving services from Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs). EOCs are federally funded centers located largely in offices hosted by colleges and community-based organizations. They target services to adults with low incomes and those who would be first-generation college-goers, seeking to help those individuals navigate some of the barriers to college enrollment, including by providing assistance with completing college and financial aid application processes, academic advising, and personal counseling. Key findings include—

  • Adding personalized text messaging to existing EOC services did not increase clients’ rates of college enrollment or FAFSA completion.

  • Although many clients completed important college-going tasks such as applying to college and submitting the FAFSA, 4 in 10 did not enroll in college. These clients may face complex barriers to enrollment that cannot be addressed by low-touch text outreach alone, suggesting the need for further inquiry into the challenges to college enrollment faced by the EOC client population.

View, download, and print the Report, Appendices, and Highlights at the IES Website.

The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation's leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation, statistics, and assessment.

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