Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Impact of Virtual College Advising on Disadvantaged Students' College Enrollment: Evidence from a Random Assignment Field Experiment

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 2:25 PM
Hibiscus (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sarah Reber and Meredith Phillips, University of California, Los Angeles
Despite well-documented large and growing returns to attending college, youth from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to attend college at lower rates than their more-advantaged peers. This gap is not fully explained by differences in academic preparation, and college enrollment and completion appear to have become more dependent on family income in recent decades. This paper reports the results of a randomized field trial of the effects of two variants of V-SOURCE, a college-counseling intervention designed to address informational and social support barriers to college enrollment, as well as students’ tendency to forget or procrastinate deadlines. V-SOURCE served students from the spring of the junior year through the summer after high school graduation. The program was delivered “virtually” via the internet, phone, email, text message, and social networking platforms, making it relatively low-cost and scalable. Although administrative and self-reported data reveal that students took advantage of V-SOURCE services and found them helpful, in preliminary analyses, we do not find evidence of effects of the program on college enrollment outcomes.