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Stopping ‘Summer Melt’ – And Getting More Kids To College This Fall

Nationally, between 10 and 20 percent of high school graduates who have been accepted into a college and plan to attend end up not starting classes in the fall. In urban districts, it’s 20 to 30 percent.

Researchers call it “summer melt.” And they’ve found a promising, cost-effective way to reverse it: customized text messaging over the summer, paired with counselor support for students who need more than just a series of reminders.

In a trial of text-messaging nudges, the rate of students enrolling this fall bumped up by 10 percent in working-class ​communities such as Lawrence, Mass., where there’s not a lot of college-access help available in the summer. The cost per student: just $7.​