Giving Compass' Take:

• With attendance taking enhanced precedence during COVID, Tim Renick and Lindsay Page report on the real impact of AI nudging technology on incoming college students.

• How might AI nudging make important advancements in helping students find comfort in attending college? What can we do to make sure this approach is equitable for marginalized communities?

• Learn more about the impact of AI nudging on college students' success.

Amid the ongoing and increasingly public debate about how to reopen safely, institutions are grappling with a more pernicious challenge: whether their students will return at all, virtually or in person. According to one recent survey, as many as 40% of incoming freshmen say it is unlikely they will attend any four-year institution this fall.

Research suggests that even before COVID-19, as many as 20% of admitted college students who indicated they planned to attend never showed up for the first day of class. The figures are up to twice as high for students who come from low-income backgrounds or are the first in their families to attend college. Not only do these students often require financial support to enroll, but they also are more likely to lack a support system at home to guide them through college processes.

Over the past few years, we've conducted research on the role of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) in helping to address the summer melt challenge. By nudging students via familiar channels like texting, AI-powered chatbots can answer student questions in real-time, share reminders about key deadlines, and free up time for advisers and support staff to interact personally with the students who need it most.

Some studies have since found this type of success hard to replicate. To put those findings to the test and better understand what it takes for behavioral nudging to succeed at scale, we recently released a new working paper showing how AI can support students after they enroll in college. Our hope is to begin to elucidate the conditions under which nudges can be helpful for supporting student persistence and success.

Read the full article about AI nudging for college students by Tim Renick and Lindsay Page at Education Dive.