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Education and Academic Support / College Readiness and Retention

Nudge4 Solutions Lab

Studies and pilot projects funded by the foundation have demonstrated that research-based interventions that address college access and success, such as text-messaging and other campaigns (Hoxby and Turner, 2013), can generate substantial improvements in college outcomes for underserved youth and veterans.

In 2016, building on the continued success of low-cost, high-impact behavioral solutions to address pressing social programs, the foundation provided the first grant to spearhead the launch of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab, conceived and led by leading researcher in this field, Dr. Ben Castleman. The lab will develop scalable solutions in education and public policy by leveraging behavioral insights, data science, interactive technologies, and deep practitioner partnerships. The solutions target four priority areas: 1) reducing educational inequality, 2) improving educational outcomes for veterans and their dependents, 3) reducing chronic unemployment, and 4) improving re-entry outcomes for incarcerated youth and adults. The projects are designed to be scalable to hundreds of thousands or millions of people across the country.

Nudge4 is unique in its approach to connecting people to beneficial resources and opportunities at critical junctures in their lives, whether the focal population is community college students figuring out which courses to take to complete their degree or recently incarcerated individuals navigating the transition back into society. Nudge4’s work is distinguished by four core pillars:

  1. Behavioral insights: the projects leverage behavioral insights to design interventions that encourage people to make informed decisions and follow through on their own intentions
  2. Data science: the lab will harness rich data and sophisticated analytic techniques to provide people with information that is highly personalized, salient, and actionable
  3. Interactive technologies: Nudge4 projects leverage mobile technologies to effectively reach people, convey timely information, and connect them to individualized assistance
  4. Deep practitioner partnerships: the lab will build collaborative, sustained partnerships with schools, agencies, and organizations to develop effective, scalable policy interventions

In Phase 1, Nudge4 will launch four major new projects — at least one in each of the four priority areas. In Phase 2, Nudge4 will launch at least six additional major projects in each priority area.