NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Does Virtual Advising Increase College Enrollment? Evidence from a Random Assignment College Access Field Experiment

Meredith Phillips, Sarah J. Reber

NBER Working Paper No. 26509
Issued in November 2019
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education

This paper describes the effects of two variants of a virtual college-counseling intervention designed to reduce informational and social support barriers to college application and enrollment among socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Students who were randomly assigned to the program felt more supported during the college application process and applied more broadly to four-year colleges, but they were not more likely to be accepted or enroll. We show that treatment effects on intermediate outcomes were larger for the types of students we anticipated would most need additional support during the college application process and discuss why the program did not improve college enrollment, while some other similar-seeming programs have improved enrollment. We conclude that low-intensity programs may work for some students, but targeting can be difficult. And many students probably need in-person and more intensive help to increase four-year enrollments.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26509

 
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