Customized Nudging to Improve FAFSA Completion and Income Verification

47 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2018

Lindsay C. Page

University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Benjamin Castleman

University of Virginia

Katharine Meyer

University of Virginia

Date Written: May 14, 2018

Abstract

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 multi-district experiment, we assess the impact of this outreach, delivered via text message. We additionally discuss lessons for scale derived from statewide implementation in Delaware. 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.

Keywords: FAFSA, Financial Aid, College Access

JEL Classification: I22, I23

Suggested Citation

Page, Lindsay C. and Castleman, Benjamin and Meyer, Katharine, Customized Nudging to Improve FAFSA Completion and Income Verification (May 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2854345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2854345

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)

Benjamin Castleman

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Katharine Meyer

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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