At JetSpring, we consider ourselves to be student advocates before all else.
Our primary goal is connecting students to the information they need to succeed in higher education. It was this same passion that led to our partnership with UCLA in a groundbreaking research study.
The study grew from a simple question: What are the primary factors driving college dropout rates? Through discussions with UCLA, we discovered that the financial aid application process was a huge barrier to student success, particularly to that of students from underprivileged backgrounds. And while there is no shortage of resources out there for students to get help with the financial aid process, most students don’t know about them or how to access them.
That’s because most of these resources inefficiently focus their outreach and marketing efforts and overlook the places where students are most likely to see and engage with content. From our live chat and text messaging work, we knew that this trend was unfortunately prevalent in higher education marketing and communications strategy. Colleges and universities all too often design their campaigns and infrastructure around channels and platforms of communications that students simply don’t use.
The answer, we knew, wasn’t in email, phone calls, websites, or mobile apps.
The answer was in text messaging.
We brought our hypothesis to UCLA, and they agreed. They had previously studied the effect of mobile apps in supporting low socioeconomic students, but found that students were reluctant to take the initial step of downloading the app. In contrast, text messaging has no such initial barrier or inconvenience for students to overcome. Students of all ages are texting constantly each and every day, and colleges that text-enable their services give themselves the opportunity to tap into that massive engagement.
Together with UCLA, we worked to fund and implement a study of student usage and outcomes using a text messaging financial aid help service. We are looking forward to better understanding the impact that text messaging can have on student outcomes, and we hope that the results of this study lead to better financial aid for thousands of college students in the future.