From the Field

Research Notes: College Advising Boosts Hispanic Enrollment and Completion

Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the country and are expected to become public education’s largest constituency. But their college-enrollment and -graduation rates are low compared to those of white and Asian students. In a new study, researcher Benjamin Castleman of the University of Virginia and colleagues suggest that intensive college advising could reduce the disparities.

The researchers conducted a multi-cohort randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Hispanic students in Texas to assess the impact of College Forward, a program offering individualized advising from junior year in high school through college.

Students receiving College Forward advising were 7.1 percentage points more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within five years of high school graduation compared to those who did not receive such advising. Additionally, students who received advising were 7.5 percentage points more likely to initially enroll in four-year institutions than those that did not receive advising and 4.6 percentage points more likely to be continuously enrolled in college through their fourth year.

The researchers argue that the program yields a positive return on investment given that the median earnings of individuals with a college degree are about $29,000 higher than that of students with no college degree. College Forward estimates that its cost per student is $4,400—$1,200 for each year in high school and $400 for about 5 years in college.

Pushing College Advising Forward: Experimental Evidence on Intensive Advising and College Success

Benjamin L. Castleman, Denise Deutschlander, and Gabrielle Lohner

March 2024