Connecting College Dropouts to Support and Reentry Services
Last registered on September 16, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
Connecting College Dropouts to Support and Reentry Services
Initial registration date
September 13, 2019
Last updated
September 16, 2019 2:00 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Vanderbilt University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Missouri
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project will address the extent to which student supports can improve completion outcomes for nontraditional students, in this case, those who have previously been unsuccessful in college and are entering early adulthood. The intervention – college re-entry coaching and counseling provided by InsideTrack – will identify the reasons why participants were unsuccessful in their prior enrollment and connect them with resources and support to help overcome these challenges. The population studied will be former California State University (CSU) and California Community College (CCC) students, identified through a partnership with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Gurantz, Oded and Lesley Turner. 2019. "Connecting College Dropouts to Support and Reentry Services." AEA RCT Registry. September 16.
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Experimental Details
We will identify former CC and CSU students who have valid contact information (email address and/or phone number) and attempt to contact these students three separate times, unless we are explicitly asked to stop. Outreach will occur via email and text messages. Initial communications will come from a CSAC email address and/or indicate that the outreach is being done on behalf of CSAC to increase the likelihood that such communications are viewed as legitimate. Outreach emails and texts will include a hyperlink that asks each student to complete a short questionnaire asking students to confirm their name, contact information, last college attended, and that they have not yet earned a degree. Students that confirm they have not yet recieved a degree will be asked to choose from a list of common issues that could have prevented them from earning their degree (e.g., financial difficulties, academic difficulties, lack of interest). A final box will ask the student whether they authorize being contacted by a college coaching and counseling service with the aim of returning the college the
following academic year. Students who complete this process will be eligible for random assignment (described below).

Intervention description:
Control group students will receive information about the steps required for college re-entry, including a website they can visit. Treatment group students will receive this information in addition to personalized counseling and reentry assistance from an InsideTrack coach. The coach will set up a short (5-10 minute) online or phone meeting to confirm the student’s interest in returning to school, gather basic information as to where the student was in the schooling process when they dropped out to help, and update or expand the student’s contact
information. After obtaining this basic information, the coach will confirm the student’s desire to return to college and collaborate with the student to determine the steps required to successfully reenroll. If the coach and student agree that key steps can be taken and that obstacles to reenrollment are surmountable, they will begin to develop and execute a plan for reenrollment. The coach will engage the student in 8 to 15 phone conversations (5 to 15 minutes in length) and 20 to 40 email or text interactions.

Interactions between the coach and participant will occur at least weekly during critical moments in the readmission cycle, and then every 2 to 3 weeks during slower times. Overall, coaches work with students to: (1) focus them on the reasons for completing college, enhance their motivation for college, and increase their general will to overcome issues and challenges; (2) help the student formulate a strategy,
making them aware of resources and coach the student through the follow up process, but working to ensure that the student does the work and builds on their ability to problem solve, and; (3) get directly involved and research, contact and connect students to resources that can provide additional support, such as on-campus services where they are considering to re-enroll.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcomes will include the probability of reenrolling in college and degree/credential receipt within 3 years of random assignment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Other academic outcomes, labor market outcomes, and financial outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Students who are reachable, complete the questionnaire, confirm they have not yet completed college, and indicate an interest in returning to college will be randomly assigned to either a treatment group, which will receive more intensive coaching provided by InsideTrack, or a control group, which will receive information about the steps required for college re-entry, including a website they can visit, but no
personalized coaching.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Student-level randomization. We will block randomize using the following stratification variables: (1) previous enrollment in community college versus California State University; (2) first academic year enrolled; (3) academic year exited college; (4) remaining Cal Grant funding; and (5) self-identified reasons for dropping out.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
14,000 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
14,000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We anticipate 4000 treatment group students and 10,000 control group students. The ratio of students assigned to treatment and control groups will depend on the size of the randomization pool, with the goal of assigning 4000 to the treatment group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
To calculate the minimum detectable effect size (MDES) for college enrollment due to the coaching intervention, we rely on standard assumptions of a two-sample means test, with α=0.05 and power = 0.8. We assume a control group re-enrollment rate of 10% (based on existing administrative data). With a total sample of approximately 13,800 students and 4000 assigned to treatment, we estimate a MDES of an approximately 1.6 percentage point increase in college reenrollment. Even if only 50% of students assigned to the treatment group ultimately take-up the coaching intervention, this implies a MDES of the coaching intervention itself of a 3.2 percentage point increase in college reenrollment, an effect that is much smaller than the difference in reenrollment found to be correlated with InsideTrack mentoring in other settings.
IRB Name
University of Missouri
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number