Castleman's Up Next Campaign Cited by Politico

POLITICO's Morning Education | September 11, 2017

How the U.S. News college rankings reward the rich

— Among its key initiatives is the Up Next campaign, a partnership with researchers at the University of Virginia to deliver text messages to high school seniors and college students with reminders about financial aid deadlines, college applications and words of encouragement on persisting through college. Through the reminders, the campaign is hoping to tap into what it calls the “Michelle Obama effect,” — or the former first lady’s ability to inspire students to apply and enroll in college during school visits, as research from the University of Virginia suggests. “Mrs. Obama’s time is very limited, and so Up Next is a way to — not replicate — but bring the power of her motivation and encouragement to students all over the country,” said Professor Ben Castleman, who worked on developing Up Next. “We’ll send a text message about [the Free Application for Federal Student Aid], but write it in a really conversational way and insert, for example, a gif of Mrs. Obama dancing.” Castleman said his team plans to study the results of the two-year-old campaign in the next year.