WWC review of this study

The forgotten summer: Does the offer of college counseling after high school mitigate summer melt among college-intending, low-income high school graduates?

Castleman, B. L., Page, L. C., & Schooley, K. (2014). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33(2), 320–344. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1027721

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    2,373
     Students
    , grades
    12-PS
At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2018

Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Full sample;
2,373 students

86

82.7

Yes

 
 
6
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Pell grant eligibility: EFC=0, Boston;
487 students

88.6

76.3

Yes

 
 
20

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Free or reduced price lunch: Fulton;
910 students

71.9

63.4

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Boston;
927 students

83

78.4

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Fulton;
1,446 students

87.6

85.4

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Pell grant eligibility, EFC>0, Boston;
177 students

85.7

83.3

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Free or reduced price lunch: No, Fulton;
536 students

92.6

92.8

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Pell grant eligibility: No, Boston;
120 students

83.5

94.3

No

-26
 
 
Credit accumulation outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Full sample;
1,397 students

82.4

78.5

Yes

 
 
6
 
More Outcomes

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Full sample;
1,397 students

71.3

66.3

Yes

 
 
6
 
Show Supplemental Findings

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Pell grant eligibility: EFC=0, Boston;
487 students

86.5

72.6

Yes

 
 
20

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Pell grant eligibility: EFC>0, Boston;
177 students

81.9

66.2

Yes

 
 
19

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Pell grant eligibility, EFC=0, Boston;
487 students

77.6

64.4

Yes

 
 
15

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Pell grant eligibility: EFC > 0, Boston;
177 students

88.7

85.1

No

--

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Non free or reduced price lunch: Fulton;
536 students

83.4

80.9

No

--

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Free or reduced price lunch: Fulton;
910 students

62.3

59.3

No

--

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Not free or reduced price lunch: Fulton;
536 students

90.2

89.4

No

--

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Free or reduced price lunch: Fulton;
910 students

41.4

39.2

No

--

Continuous enrollment into sophomore year

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

16 Months

Pell grant eligibility: No, Boston;
120 students

64.9

78.9

No

-16
 
 

Continuous first-year enrollment

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Pell grant eligibility: No, Boston;
120 students

79.7

95.7

Yes

-35
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 58%
    Male: 42%
  • Race
    Asian
    10%
    Black
    43%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    13%
    Not Hispanic
    87%

  • Suburban, Urban
    • B
    • A
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    • D
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    Georgia, Massachusetts

Setting

This intervention took place in Boston from June 27, 2011 to August 10, 2011. In Fulton, the intervention took place between June 6, 2011 and July 11, 2011. The counseling sessions in Boston took place primarily at the provider's (uAspire) Center for College Affordability in Boston. In Fulton, the intervention mostly took place over the phone.

Study sample

Ethnic minority students comprised more than 90 percent of the Boston sample (32% Black, 24% Latino, and 20% Asian). Nearly 85% of the Boston sample completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Of those who did complete the FAFSA, 62% had an EFC of zero and another 23% had an EFC that was nonzero, but still within the range of Pell-eligibility. Sixty five percent of the students were female. In Fulton, ethnic minority students comprised 61% of the sample (49% Black, 6% Hispanic, 4% Asian) and 54% of the students were female. The students in the sample were relatively high performing relative to similar high school students in the Atlanta area. Thirty-seven percent of the students qualified for free- or reduced-price lunch.

Intervention Group

Boston: Counselors made multiple attempts via phone, email, text, and Facebook to contact each intervention group student to offer support. Upon reaching students, advisors offered each a $25 gift card incentive to attend an in-person meeting. Researchers provided a protocol to the advisors for the outreach and support they were to provide. During the first in-person meeting, counselors completed a college assessment protocol that included the following elements: (1) Counselors reviewed the student’s financial aid award letter and provided guidance based on the student’s level of unmet financial need; (2) counselors briefed the student on the calendar of key summer deadlines at the college the student planned to attend, and helped the student understand and complete paperwork the student had already received from that college; and, (3) Counselors assessed whether the student faced social or emotional barriers to college enrollment in the fall. After the assessment, counselors helped students create a list of tasks they needed to complete in order to start college that fall. Counselors followed up with students individually to check on their progress in completing these tasks. Subsequent to the initial assessment meeting, much of the communication between counselors and students happened via phone, e-mail, and text, though counselors also conducted in-person follow-up meetings with students when they felt it important to do so. Fulton: Counselors made multiple attempts via phone, email, text, and Facebook to contact each intervention group student to offer support. Upon reaching students, advisors offered counseling to the students. The researchers did not supply a protocol to the counselors in the Georgia site but encouraged counselors to follow their existing professional protocols for working with students. Counselors were encouraged to use an intake form that listed numerous tasks required for college enrollment during their initial contact with students. Counselors who met with students in person primarily used the school from which they were working, but the counselors depended on phone conversations to provide most of their support. Counselors logged whether and when they interacted with students (both intervention and comparison). Counselors indicated that many of their interactions with students focused on issues of financial aid. Counselors also reported addressing a variety of informational questions, such as how to access a college’s web portal, how to complete required paperwork, and what the matriculation process entailed. About 35% of the students had any communication with a counselor; approximately 25% of the non-FRL students had contact with a counselor, while nearly 54% of the FRL students had contact with a counselor. Counselors logged whether and when they interacted with students (both intervention and comparison). Counselors indicated that many of their interactions with students focused on issues of financial aid. Counselors also reported addressing a variety of informational questions, such as how to access a college’s web portal, how to complete required paperwork, and what the matriculation process entailed. In Boston, more than 75% of students in the intervention group communicated with an advisor and 52% of students in the intervention group had at least one face-to-face meeting with an advisor.

Comparison Group

The comparison group students did not receive outreach though they were assigned to a counselor. In both sites, counselors were instructed not to deny support to any comparison group student who actively sought help.

Support for implementation

The study authors provided the uAspire counselors in Boston with a protocol for their outreach activities and supplied the assessment protocol that guided the counselors’ advising. In Fulton, the study authors provided supplemental training for the counselors that focused on the federal and state financial aid application process.

Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2016

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2015

Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Immediate Enrollment

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta sample;
1,446 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
4
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Immediate Enrollment

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: FRPL;
910 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
9

Immediate Enrollment

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: Non-FRPL;
536 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Credit accumulation and persistence outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Persistence into the sophomore year

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta sample;
1,446 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
3
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Persistence into sophomore semester

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: FRPL;
910 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Persistence into sophomore semester

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: Non-FRPL;
536 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Persistence into second semester

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta sample;
1,446 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Persistence into second semester

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: FRPL;
910 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Persistence into second semester

College Counseling After High School vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Atlanta: Non-FRPL;
536 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 37% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
  • Race
    Asian
    4%
    Black
    49%
    Not specified
    2%
    White
    39%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    6%
    Not Hispanic
    94%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
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    • y

    Georgia
 

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