WWC review of this study

Supporting the Whole Community College Student: The Impact of Nudging for Basic Needs Security

Goldrick-Rab, S., Clark, K., Baker-Smith, C., & Witherspoon, C. (2021). The Hope Center. https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ARC_ImpactPaper.pdf.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,968
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: November 2021

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
College Degree Attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Graduation from 2-year college

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

14 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

29.00

28.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Graduation from 2-year college

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

2 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

19.00

18.00

No

--
College enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Transfer to four-year college

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

2 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

3.00

2.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Transfer to four-year college

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

14 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

8.00

7.00

No

--
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College retention rate

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

2 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

88.00

88.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

College retention rate

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

14 Months

Full sample;
1,968 students

63.00

65.00

No

--
Progressing in Developmental College Courses outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Passed developmental education

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

2 Months

Students enrolled in developmental education courses;
465 students

71.00

59.00

Yes

 
 
13
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Passed developmental education

Targeted emails to refer students to support services vs. Business as usual

14 Months

Students enrolled in developmental education;
465 students

73.00

60.00

Yes

 
 
14


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 72%
    Male: 28%

  • Urban
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    • A
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    • h
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    Texas
  • Race
    Black
    18%
    Other or unknown
    42%
    White
    40%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    42%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    58%

Setting

The study was conducted at Amarillo College, a 2-year, Latinx-serving community college located in Texas that offers associate degree and certificate programs. Amarillo is a city of fewer than 200,000 residents, representing almost half of the population of the Texas Panhandle.

Study sample

The majority of the students in the study were female (72%). Of the total sample, 42% were Hispanic, 40% were White, and 18% were Black. Approximately 86% of the sample were in the bottom quintile of the family income distribution.

Intervention Group

The Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC) at Amarillo College is a social services case management program that includes access to emergency aid, public benefits programs, transportation, childcare assistance, coaching, career guidance, textbook lending, counseling, a food pantry, and clothing closet. Students randomly assigned to the intervention group were sent targeted personalized email messages by ARC staff to provide information and encourage them to visit the ARC for basic needs supports. The emails were sent out once per month from September through March during one academic year. The emails (1) were personalized, addressed to a student’s first name; (2) included content tied to particular academic junctures (e.g., welcoming students to campus, mentioning holidays or events); (3) described supports available to all students; (4) emphasized that many supports exist; and (5) were offered in addition to, not instead of, many other supportive messages across the institution.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition had the same access to the ARC as the intervention students. However, comparison group students did not receive email nudges.

Support for implementation

No support for implementation was described.

 

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