Last week, we talked about college persistence rates. Quick refresher: persistence rate is the percentage of students who enroll in a second year at a higher ed institution. This week, we’re talking about college matriculation rates. The matriculation rate is the percentage of students who enroll in a college or university after graduating high school.

How to Increase Matriculation Rates

Matriculation rates can be heavily influenced by summer melt. Summer melt occurs when high school graduates intend to attend college in the fall, but for various reasons do not. In 2013, researchers Benjamin Castleman and Lindsay Page set out to see if personalized text messages could nudge students to college and ultimately increase matriculation rates.

Drs. Castleman and Page used Signal Vine to test the impact of text nudges on matriculation. Partnering with uAspire, Mastery Charter Schools, and the Dallas Independent School District, the team sent text nudges to high school students and their families in Dallas, Boston, and Philadelphia. The messages included reminders and information about enrollment, orientation, housing, and financial aid award letters. Students could text back to communicate directly with a college advisor.

Overall, the intervention helped more students enroll in and attend college directly after high school. High school graduates were 14% more likely to immediately matriculate to a two-year college after the texting intervention.

matriculation rates

Evidently, enrollment increases were highest for low-income students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. The intervention benefitted other groups, too: students who had not yet completed the FAFSA at the time of the intervention were more likely to matriculate by a whopping 20%. Students without specific plans after high school were more 6% more likely to matriculate if they were part of the intervention.

Personalized text messaging is an effective way to decrease summer melt and increase matriculation rates. Furthermore, the results are further proof that communicating with students the way they want works best for everyone.

Want to see how you can incorporate a texting strategy across your institution? Download our ebook on texting campus-wide.

matriculation rates