Parental Influences on Postsecondary Decision-Making: Evidence from a Text Messaging Experiment

32 Pages Posted: 11 May 2016

See all articles by Benjamin Castleman

Benjamin Castleman

University of Virginia

Lindsay C. Page

University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Date Written: May 10, 2016

Abstract

A growing body of research points to the importance of increasing parental engagement in their children’s education. Yet, little research has investigated whether prompting parents to be more involved in the college process leads to improved student outcomes. We investigate, through a large-scale experiment, whether providing both students and their parents with personalized information about tasks students need to complete in order to enroll in college leads to improved college enrollment outcomes relative to providing information to students only. We utilize text messaging as a vehicle for providing information and one-on-one college advising to students and parents. Across treatment arms, the text outreach increased on-time college enrollment by a statistically significant 3.1 percentage points. We do not find compelling evidence that texting both parents and students increased the efficacy of the outreach relative to just texting students. We discuss this result in the context of the broader parental engagement literature.

Keywords: College Access, Parental Engagement, Experimental Design

JEL Classification: I20, I21

Suggested Citation

Castleman, Benjamin and Page, Lindsay C., Parental Influences on Postsecondary Decision-Making: Evidence from a Text Messaging Experiment (May 10, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2778080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2778080

Benjamin Castleman

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Lindsay C. Page (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh School of Education ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7166 (Phone)

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