Text Message Interventions to Increase Rural Students' College Matriculation and Success

Many college access interventions focus on strategies to improve college access and success for urban students. But there are clearly many hard-working first generation students in rural areas who are equally deserving of support. Improving college access in rural areas has traditionally been challenging, however, since students are so geographically dispersed—this makes it more difficult to locate a college access organization that can provide guidance to many students. On the positive side, though, most students in rural areas have cell phones, which means that it is possible to send them personalized information about important college tasks to complete and invite them to connect remotely with a college or financial aid professional who can provide individualized support. In partnership with the West Virginia Higher Education Planning Commission, we will send students attending GEAR UP high schools personalized text messages about important tasks to complete in order to matriculate and persist in college. The messages will start in the spring of senior year of high school and continue into the freshman year of college. This project has been generously funded by The Kresge Foundation.