Our study motivates students by providing information about a merit- and need-based scholarship to attend college. Created in late 2011, Beca 18 is the first full scholarship program for higher education funded by the national government in Peru. This trial conducts a large-scale experimental intervention that aims to motivate public school students, specifically those of low and medium-low socioeconomic status, through text messages.
We randomly assign schools into three treatment arms, a placebo treatment group, and a control group. The three treatment groups received general information about the eligibility criteria and coverage of Beca 18, but specific text messages separately to each treatment arm. The first treatment arm provides information about the labor market returns of Beca 18. Then, the second gives details about the current gap between the eligibility academic criteria of Beca 18 and the academic performance of of children. The third arm, instead, seeks to expand the aspirations window of both parents and their children through specific information of past Beca 18 beneficiaries in their region of residence. Additionally, the placebo treatment group only receives information about Aprendo en Casa, the Ministry of Education's multimedia platform (website, TV and radio), created for remote learning. Finally, the control group does not receive a message.