Publication Date



Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis


This brief summarizes the results from an experiment that focused on increasing the percentage of college students who submitted and successfully defended their final projects and thus were eligible to earn a professional degree from a technical college.

The experiment focused on three study fields: architecture, electrical engineering, and software engineering.

In the study, a random group of college departments introduced pre-specified deadlines for the final project submission and defense, as well as sent students personalized text messages that provided reminders, encouragements, and additional information on the benefits of completing program requirements in a timely manner.

Study findings show that within the six months from final exams, our intervention increased the probability of successful completion of student projects—and thus the rates of graduation with technical college degrees—by approximately 30%.

Research Brief 21-02

Document Type

Research Brief



Global Initiatives