Financial Aid Nudges: A National Experiment to Increase Retention of Financial Aid and College Persistence

In this project, researchers investigate whether an intervention that provides financial aid information, reminders, and advising to college students increases completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements of the Pell grant program.

The research team will convey information, reminders, and offers of additional assistance to students via text message. The intervention is expected to work by making students aware of crucial financial aid and SAP requirements, along with the financial benefits of complying with these requirements.

First-generation students with less access to college-going information, as well as students who are working or have dependents, are expected to benefit the most from the intervention, as a consequence of substantial increases in their knowledge of requirements and/or re-shaping of their immediate priorities.

If proven beneficial, the intervention could be replicated as a cost-effective strategy for institutions and state systems to transmit crucial policy information from administrators to students, and to provide personalized advising for students who need it.


Jed Richardson


Completed on June 30, 2018

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Jed Richardson