Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? Investigating Rates and Patterns of Financial Aid Renewal Among College Freshmen

Authors: Benjamin Castleman, Kelli Bird

College affordability continues to be a top concern among prospective students, their families, and policy makers. Prior work has demonstrated that a significant share of prospective students forgo financial aid because they did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); recent federal policy efforts have focused on supporting students and their families to successfully file the FAFSA. 

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Intensive College Counseling and the Enrollment and Persistence of Low Income Students

Authors: Benjamin Castleman, Joshua Goodman

Though counseling is one commonly pursued intervention to improve college enrollment and completion for disadvantaged students, there is relatively little causal evidence on its efficacy. We use a regression discontinuity design to study the impact of intensive college counseling provided to college-seeking, low income students by a Massachusetts program that admits applicants partly on the basis of a minimum GPA requirement.

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Freshman year financial aid nudges: An experiment to increase FAFSA renewal and college persistence

Authors: Benjamin Castleman, Lindsay C. Page

In this paper we investigate, through a randomized controlled trial design, the impact of a personalized text messaging intervention designed to encourage college freshmen to refile their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and maintain their financial aid for sophomore year. The intervention produced large and positive effects among freshmen at community colleges where text recipients were almost 14 percentage points more likely to remain continuously enrolled through the Spring of sophomore year.

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Decision Making for Student Success: Behavioral Insights to Improve College Access and Persistence

Decision Making for Student Success: Behavioral Insights to Improve College Access and Persistence

Authors: Benjamin Castleman, Saul Schwartz, Sandy Baum

Scholars from the fields of behavioral economics, education, and public policy explore contemporary research on decision-making and highlight behavioral insights that can improve postsecondary access and success. Written in collaboration with Saul Schwartz, Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, Canada and Sandy Baum, Research Professor of Education Policy at George Washington University and a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, USA.

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