College Advising at a National Scale: Experimental Evidence from the CollegePoint initiative Sep 01, 2019 By Zach SullivanBenjamin CastlemanEric Bettinger College Advising at a National Scale: Experimental Evidence from the CollegePoint initiative In recognition of the complexity of the college and financial aid application process, and in response to insufficient access to family or school-based counseling among economically-disadvantaged populations, investments at the local, state, and federal level have expanded students’ access to college and financial aid advising. Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of these programs demonstrate that they can generate substantial improvements in the rate at which low-income students enroll and persist in college. While these programs are successful at the level of individual communities, the individualized, in-person college advising model faces numerous barriers to scale. In this paper, we report early results from an RCT of CollegePoint, an innovative, national college advising initiative that pursues a technology-enabled approach to provide students with sustained, intensive advising. Students assigned to CollegePoint are modestly more likely (1.5 percentage points, or 7.5 percent relative to the control) to enroll at the most selective colleges and universities (Barron’s 1 institutions), though we find no difference in enrollment patterns on other measures of college quality. We find suggestive evidence of variation in the impact of CollegePoint based on when students enrolled in the program. Students who enrolled in the spring of their junior year were 5.6 percentage points (22 percent relative to the control) more likely to enroll at one of the most selective colleges and universities in the country than students in the control group who also signed up in the spring of junior year but who were not assigned to the program. Link to Paper Areas of focus Education UVA partners EdPolicyWorks: Center for Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness Zach Sullivan Benjamin Castleman Ben Castleman is an Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Read full bio Eric Bettinger Related Content Benjamin Castleman Stacking the Deck for Employment Success: Labor Market Returns to Stackable Credentials Research With rapid technological transformations to the labor market along with COVID-19 related economic disruptions, many working adults return to college to obtain additional training or credentials. Using a comparative individual fixed effects strategy and an administrative panel dataset of enrollment and employment in Virginia, we provide the first causal estimates of credential “stacking” among working adults. Pushing College Advising Forward: Experimental Evidence on Intensive Advising and College Success Research Growing experimental evidence demonstrates that low-touch informational, nudge, and virtual advising interventions are ineffective at improving postsecondary educational outcomes for economically-disadvantaged students at scale. Intensive in-person college advising programs are a considerably higher-touch and more resource intensive strategy; some programs provide students with dozen of hours of individualized assistance starting in high school and continuing through college, and can cost thousands of dollars per student served. Castleman and Colleague Shed Light on Rewards of 'Credential Stacking' News The impact of “credential stacking” among community college students had long been of interest to Batten’s Ben Castleman and his colleague Katharine Meyer, but they became even more curious about it during the pandemic. UVA Researchers Offer Data on One of Higher Education’s Most Dramatic Shifts News In a new study, Batten’s Ben Castleman, along with his collaborators Gaby Lohner and Kelli Bird from the UVA School of Education and Human Development, investigated how the shift to online learning during COVID-19 has affected student success.