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A Trickle or a Torrent? Understanding the Extent of Summer “Melt” Among College-Intending High School Graduates

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  • Benjamin L. Castleman
  • Lindsay C. Page

Abstract

type="main"> The object of this study was to examine whether college-intending, low-income high school graduates are particularly susceptible to having their postsecondary education plans change, or even fall apart, during the summer after high school graduation. College access research has largely overlooked this time period. Yet, previous research indicates that a sizeable share of low-income students who had paid college deposits reconsidered where, and even whether, to enroll in the months following graduation. We assess the extent to which this phenomenon—commonly referred to as “summer melt”—is broadly generalizable. We employ two data sources, a national survey and administrative data from a large metropolitan area, and regression analysis to estimate the prevalence of summer melt. Our analyses reveal summer melt rates of sizeable magnitude: ranging from 8 to 40 percent. Our results indicate that low-income, college-intending students experience high rates of summer attrition from the college pipeline. Given the goal of improving the flow of low-income students to and through college, it is imperative to investigate how to effectively intervene and mitigate summer melt.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin L. Castleman & Lindsay C. Page, 2014. "A Trickle or a Torrent? Understanding the Extent of Summer “Melt” Among College-Intending High School Graduates," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(1), pages 202-220, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:95:y:2014:i:1:p:202-220
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ssqu.12032
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    Cited by:

    1. Gershenson, Seth & Hart, Cassandra M. D. & Lindsay, Constance A. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2017. "The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 10630, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. French, Robert & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2017. "Behavioral barriers transitioning to college," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 48-63.
    3. Kelly Ochs Rosinger, 2019. "Can Simplifying Financial Aid Offers Impact College Enrollment and Borrowing? Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 14(4), pages 601-626, Fall.
    4. Oded Gurantz & Jessica Howell & Michael Hurwitz & Cassandra Larson & Matea Pender & Brooke White, 2021. "A National‐Level Informational Experiment to Promote Enrollment in Selective Colleges," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(2), pages 453-479, March.
    5. Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2015. "Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses," NBER Working Papers 21781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Adam M. Lavecchia & Heidi Liu & Philip Oreopoulos, 2014. "Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities," NBER Working Papers 20609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kelli Bird & Benjamin L. Castleman, 2016. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? Investigating Rates and Patterns of Financial Aid Renewal Among College Freshmen," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(4), pages 395-422, June.
    8. Scott Carrell & Bruce Sacerdote, 2017. "Why Do College-Going Interventions Work?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 124-151, July.
    9. Castleman, Benjamin L. & Owen, Laura & Page, Lindsay C., 2016. "Reprint of “Stay late or start early? Experimental evidence on the benefits of college matriculation support from high schools versus colleges”," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 113-124.
    10. Castleman, Benjamin L. & Owen, Laura & Page, Lindsay C., 2015. "Stay late or start early? Experimental evidence on the benefits of college matriculation support from high schools versus colleges," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 168-179.
    11. Nicolás de Roux & Evan Riehl, 2020. "Disrupted Academic Careers: The Returns to Time Off after High School," Documentos CEDE 018417, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    12. Aizat Nurshatayeva & Lindsay C. Page & Carol C. White & Hunter Gehlbach, 2021. "Are Artificially Intelligent Conversational Chatbots Uniformly Effective in Reducing Summer Melt? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 62(3), pages 392-402, May.
    13. Karen Jeong Robinson & Josipa Roksa, 2016. "Counselors, Information, and High School College-Going Culture: Inequalities in the College Application Process," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(7), pages 845-868, November.
    14. Ray Franke & Brian Bicknell, 2019. "Taking a Break, or Taking a Class? Examining the Effects of Incentivized Summer Enrollment on Student Persistence," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 60(5), pages 606-635, August.
    15. Christopher Erwin & Melissa Binder & Cynthia Miller & Kate Krause, 2020. "Performance-based aid, enhanced advising, and the income gap in college graduation: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial," Working Papers 2020-06, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    16. Lindsay C. Page & Jennifer E. Iriti & Danielle J. Lowry & Aaron M. Anthony, 2019. "The Promise of Place-Based Investment in Postsecondary Access and Success: Investigating the Impact of the Pittsburgh Promise," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 14(4), pages 572-600, Fall.
    17. Iriti, Jennifer & Page, Lindsay C. & Bickel, William E., 2018. "Place-based scholarships: Catalysts for systems reform to improve postsecondary attainment," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 137-148.
    18. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    19. Vinas-Forcade, Jennifer & Mels, Cindy & Valcke, Martin & Derluyn, Ilse, 2019. "Beyond academics: Dropout prevention summer school programs in the transition to secondary education," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 1-1.

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