Presentation on theme: "Opportunities for college-intending students at risk for “summer melt” Ben Castleman The University of Virginia Laura Owen Johns."— Presentation transcript:
Opportunities for college-intending students at risk for “summer melt” Ben Castleman The University of Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org) Laura Owen Johns Hopkins University (email@example.com) Erin Cox uAspire (firstname.lastname@example.org) Lindsay Page University of Pittsburgh (email@example.com) Research made possible by support from the Bill & Melinda Gates, W.T. Grant, Spencer, Heckscher, and Lindback Foundations, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
The summer melt problem 2 FAFSA verification Award letter review Supplementary loan applications Tuition payment plan set-up Orientation and placement test registration Housing applications Health insurance applications and waivers Unanticipated fees (orientation, housing, etc.) Even after being accepted to college and choosing where to attend, low-income students face many hurdles to college enrollment… But typically have little access to professional help.
Uncertainty about financial aid 3 Grant aid?Applied to tuition bill? Total cost of attendance?
4 Financial gap of $2,400 or $600? Uncertainty about the tuition bill
The magnitude of the summer melt problem 5 Fulton County 22% Fort Worth, TX 44% Boston, MA 21% Dallas, TX 28% Albuquerque, NM 29% Providence, RI 33% Philadelphia, PA 32% Percentages indicate the share of college-intending students that do not enroll anywhere in the fall following high school graduation
uAspire & Summer College Connect Basics National non-profit organization founded in 1985. Based in Boston, MA with direct service sites in Springfield, Lawrence, and Fall River, MA; Miami, FL, and the Bay Area of California. Mission: Ensure all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to – and through – a postsecondary education. Partnerships with over 100 schools, CMOs, CBOs, and higher ed institutions to provide college affordability advising services to more than 14,000 young people and their families every year.. Compared college-intending data from graduating seniors across more than 40 Boston public high schools to NSC enrollment data the subsequent fall Data revealed a 21% summer melt rate Decided to take action – designed new summer program which extended school-year advising to support college-intending high school graduates over the summer Staffed intervention with uAspire advisors – aged 24 – 30, trained in college affordability, relationally strong, Designed intervention as random control trial study to enable results that would yield learnings to benefit uAspire and the college access/success field Just completed 3 rd year of RCT summer interventions Inception of uAspire’s Summer College Connect program
Three Summers, Three Intervention Designs, All with Measurable Impact Summer 2011 Proactive Advisor Outreach College-intending Class of 2011 grads Proactive outreach and tailored supports from uAspire advisor at several points during the summer Personalized outreach to students via email, phone, text & Facebook In-person and phone-based meetings with students Regular follow-up Key issues included college financial aid/affordability, navigating college web portals, and social/emotional readiness for college Cost - $200/student Summer 2012 Peer Mentors College-intending Class of 2012 grads Proactive outreach from peer mentors at several points during the summer Provided first-hand perspective and encouragement about college Assessed students’ readiness to matriculate in college in the fall Helped students identify key tasks and interpret required paperwork Referred students to an full-time advisor for issues involving personal financial information or when peer mentor needed help Cost - $80/student Summers 2012 & 2013 Texting College-intending Class of 2012 & 2013 grads Series of 10 text messages sent throughout summer. Messages customized to each student’s intended college and sent via an automated text messaging platform (Signal Vine) Messages provide college-specific information, due dates, and web links for important tasks (e.g., registering for orientation) Messages provided the option of requesting 1:1 assistance from a uAspire advisor Cost - $7/student
Quick Implementation Pitfalls & Solutions Summer 2011 Proactive Advisor Outreach Maintain relationships from the school year when you can; don’t worry too much when you can’t Figure out a vacation taking & coverage plans for staff continuing from the school year Summer 2012 Peer Mentors Peer mentors require substantial management and oversight Efforts should be taken to keep mentors motivated and enthusiastic even in face of students who turn down invitation to meet Summers 2012 & 2013 Texting Requires mechanism for collecting students’ cell phone information, and relies on stability of cell phone numbers Can be hard for staff to imagine impact occurring via text. (Cite example below as evidence.) Actual Texting Interaction via Signal Vine Portal Between uAspire Advisor and a Student Advisor: “uAspire reminder: Fall bill due 8/7. Do u have a good plan for paying ur bill? Need help? Questions about loans? Text us, or visit our walk-in hrs!” Student: “I saw what my bill is so is that what financial aid takes care of” Advisor: “Do you know how much your bill is for?” Student: “3000 & some change” Advisor: “That doesn't sound like your fin aid has been applied yet. Did you check your email? Check to see if you have any emails from the fin aid office.” Student: “Okay.” 7 min later: “I figured it out, they need my transcript” Advisor: “Ok that makes sense. Once they receive this, the fin aid office may have more papers for you to fill out. Be sure to check your email often and let us know.” Student: “Okay thank you.”
Resources to Support Summer Melt Programs Strategic Data Project’s Summer Melt Handbook Practitioners’ guide on summer melt Practical guidance on assessing and responding to summer melt among your students Visit: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/cepr-resources/files/news-events/sdp-summer-melt- handbook.pdf Training for Your Staff Customizable training focused on the needs of your frontline staff Topics include: addressing a financial gap, loan counseling, preparing to pay a bill, FAFSA completion & verification, reviewing award letters Contact: Erin@uaspire.org Texting Platform Mass texts personalized to each student; can text back and forth with each student via portal, issue immediate responses and track interactions Summer program packaging available Contact: Brian@signalvine.com
Summer outreach improves enrollment & persistence Results from probit regressions including fixed effects for high school or advising team and baseline covariates. ~ p <0.10 * p<0.05 ** p<0.01 10
** Summer outreach improves enrollment & persistence Results from probit regressions including fixed effects for high school or advising team and baseline covariates. ~ p <0.10 * p<0.05 ** p<0.01 11
** * Summer outreach improves enrollment & persistence Results from probit regressions including fixed effects for high school or advising team and baseline covariates. ~ p <0.10 * p<0.05 ** p<0.01 12
Austin 2013 Summer Partnered with five school districts in the Austin, TX area. All five districts serve large numbers of students from low income backgrounds. Counseling directors recruited and hired several high school counselors to staff the intervention. A high school exit survey was administered in each participating school district. All students received a mailing at the beginning of the summer to provide reminders of steps students should take in order to matriculate on time in the fall after high school graduation. Text messages were used to remind students and their parents of tasks they needed to complete at their intended college. 13
Focus Groups with School Counselors Conducted 1 ½ hour focus groups Administered a leadership survey Trying to understand Challenges students faced Strategies counselors used to support students Counselor efficacy Suggestions for improving future interventions 14
Implications going forward... Utilize school counselors in the college going process – they have access to all students Employ technology strategies to dispense timely information and connect students and families with support Provide ongoing professional development Form collaborative relationships with other stakeholders involved in college and career readiness work Work with CACREP to mandate higher education programs include courses on college admissions counseling in their counselor training programs 15