Customized Nudging to Improve FAFSA Completion and Income Verification

Published Online in:
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
October 29, 2019

Lindsay C. Page, University of Pittsburgh
Benjamin L. Castleman, University of Virginia 
Katharine Meyer, Brown University

Informational and behavioral barriers hinder social benefit take-up. We investigate the impact of mitigating these barriers through providing personalized information on benefits application status and application assistance on filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the gateway to college financial aid. Through a multidistrict experiment, we assess the impact of this outreach, delivered via text message. This data-driven strategy improves FAFSA completion and college matriculation and potentially reduces the negative consequences of additional procedural hurdles such as FAFSA income verification, required of approximately one third of filers nationally.

Read the full open-access article online here

Read the press release: "Text-based “Nudges” to High School Seniors from School Counselors Boost Financial Aid Filing, College Enrollment."