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Can Light-Touch College-Going Interventions Make a Difference? Evidence From a Statewide Experiment in Michigan

I conduct a statewide experiment in Michigan with nearly 50,000 high-achieving high school seniors. Treated students are mailed a letter encouraging them to consider college and providing them with the web address of a college information website. I find that very high-achieving, low-income students, and very high-achieving, minority students are the most likely to navigate to the website. Small changes to letter content affect take-up. For example, highlighting college affordability induces 18 percent more students to the website than highlighting college choice, and 37 percent more than highlighting how to apply to college. I find a statistically precise zero impact on college enrollment among all students mailed the letter. However, low-income students experience a small increase in the probability that they enroll in college, driven by increases at four-year institutions. An examination of persistence through college, while imprecise, suggests that the students induced into college by the intervention persist at a lower rate than the inframarginal student.

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EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Hyman, Joshua. (). Can Light-Touch College-Going Interventions Make a Difference? Evidence From a Statewide Experiment in Michigan. (EdWorkingPaper: -36). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: http://edworkingpapers.com/index.php/ai19-36

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