In the News: Text Your Way to College

In the New York Times, David Kirp writes about efforts to raise college enrollment and graduation rates among students from poor families by texting the students regularly with helpful information and reminders.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors make bad choices about where — or whether — to go to college. Some who would excel at top-ranked institutions opt for second-tier institutions. And more than 200,000 students who have been accepted by colleges never enroll.
The good news is that, for students in both groups, a dollop of information or a helpful nudge can change their decisions.

These types of text messaging campaigns are examined by education professor Ben Castleman in his book The 160-Character Solution.
Jay Greene reviewed the book for Education Next here and critiqued the use of behavioral nudge strategies in education policy. He wrote

It’s unclear whether our pushing will really help: we may be pushing them in a way they don’t want, and we may set them up for failure to get through subsequent hassles.

Ben Castleman responded here.

– Education Next

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College