MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science (CABS) and Postsecondary Education policy area launched The Finish Line: Graduation by Design to improve college completion rates using behavioral insights.
Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) aims to increase summer enrollment rates among low-income community college students using insights from behavioral science. This infographic describes some of the benefits of summer enrollment, reasons why students may not enroll in summer, and interventions the EASE team designed to address low enrollment rates.
The college enrollment process is complex and includes many steps. Recent research has shown that short, action-oriented text messages can help people focus on critical tasks at the right times.
Building a School Choice Architecture
As school choice systems expand, district enrollment offices are striving to make the choice process accessible and clear for families. This practitioner brief offers lessons for supporting families through the sequence of decisions involved as they engage in the process, search for information, and compare and select schools.
Young people with juvenile justice involvement face many challenges, which may include a lack of education and employment skills, antisocial attitudes and values, unstable housing, and much more. These challenges make it difficult for them to pursue educational pursuits or enter the workforce and become productive citizens.
Final Report of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project
The BIAS project tested behavioral interventions in child support, child care, and work support programs with nearly 100,000 low-income clients in eight human services agencies. Each site saw at least one significant, low-cost impact. The findings suggest that small environmental changes can enhance client-agency interactions and expanded behavioral strategies might help strengthen programs and policies.
The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) Project is a new initiative to improve community college persistence and completion in Ohio. The project will apply insights from behavioral science to design targeted messaging and financial incentives that encourage students to enroll in courses during the summer term.
As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.
A Randomized Controlled Trial
A randomized controlled trial conducted by REL West and MDRC finds that counseling and text-messaging “nudges” boosted the proportion of community college students who completed academic plans by 20 percentage points.
Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Incarcerated Parents’ Requests for Child Support Modifications
A behavioral intervention provided incarcerated noncustodial parents in Washington with materials about their eligibility for a child support order modification and how to request one. It increased the number of parents requesting a modification by 32 percentage points and the number of parents receiving a modification by 16 percentage points.