Soldier for Life, Student for Life: Personalized information and advising to improve postsecondary outcomes for separating Army servicemembers

Last registered on January 26, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Soldier for Life, Student for Life: Personalized information and advising to improve postsecondary outcomes for separating Army servicemembers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008905
Initial registration date
January 26, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 26, 2022, 4:41 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Virginia

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Virginia
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University
PI Affiliation
Mason School of Business, College of William & Mary

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2015-11-02
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
To increase service members’ awareness of well-matched, affordable colleges and universities and to support them to make informed decisions about whether and where to pursue postsecondary education, we designed and tested a large-scale experiment to provide service members separating from the U.S. Army with personalized and simplified information, reminders, and advising about their college and university options.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Barr, Andrew et al. 2022. "Soldier for Life, Student for Life: Personalized information and advising to improve postsecondary outcomes for separating Army servicemembers." AEA RCT Registry. January 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8905
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
To increase service members’ awareness of well-matched, affordable colleges and universities and to support them to make informed decisions about whether and where to pursue postsecondary education, we designed and tested a large-scale experiment to provide service members separating from the U.S. Army with personalized and simplified information, reminders, and advising about their college and university options. For each treated service member, we identified four colleges and universities that (1) were located in the communities service members would be transitioning to after the Army; (2) appeared likely to admit the soldier, based on their performance on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); and (3) maximized a combination of institutional quality (proxied for by institutions’ six-year graduation rate) and affordability (price net of G.I. Bill funding). We delivered this information through a combination of postal mail, email, and text message, and also created a project-specific website where service members could find information about additional colleges and universities at which they were likely to be admitted and that maximized quality and affordability.
Intervention Start Date
2015-11-18
Intervention End Date
2017-12-29

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Enrollment at postsecondary institution
Quality of chosen postsecondary institution
Graduation from postsecondary institution
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We use data from National Student Clearinghouse matches to measure enrollment and graduation at postsecondary institutions. We use institutional graduation rate as a measure for quality.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
All treated service members (two-thirds of the experimental sample) received the intervention materials materials. We also randomly assigned half of treated service members to receive additional proactive and personalized, text-based college advising from the Virginia College Advising Corps (VCAC), a chapter within the national College Advising Corps. We conducted our experiment in 2016 and 2017 with enlisted active-duty service members who were in the process of separating from six of the largest Army installations in the country. We randomized service members at the individual level to one of the two treatment arms or to the control condition within: Army installation, quartile of aptitude score, and month of initiation of transition from active-duty.

Control group members received no communications.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer random number generator
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N = 13,173 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
N = 13,173 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
N = 4,381 control
N = 4,389 information only treatment arm
N = 4,403 information plus advising treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Virginia
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
2013-0468-00

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 29, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials