Student Loan TIPS: Texting Intervention Project

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



financial education program components, nudging, financial education program delivery


Family Resource Management Specialists from 10 states across the North Central Region (NCR) decided to use an intervention approach with college graduates to provide education with the intent of decreasing the prevalence of loan default. Graduates would learn about the loan repayment process to better decisions about their options.

There is evidence that text messaging interventions can yield positive results for behavior change (De Leon, Fuentes, & Cohen, 2014), not only for student loan repayment behavior (Kennedy, 2015; Schmesier, Stoddar, & Urban, 2015) but for other financial behaviors. For example, the America Saves campaign has been successful in disseminating information to achieve financial goals through text messages.

To test the effectiveness of the short message service (SMS) approach, our team conducted a student loan repayment intervention. The objective of the SMS campaign was to increase recent college graduates knowledge about the repayment process and to improve repayment rates. One hundred forty-five graduates participated in the project.

Our work determined that a text messaging intervention is a promising delivery method for engaging young consumers. By providing periodic dosages of trusted information and resources to college graduates, it is possible to increase student awareness and efficacy in the student loan repayment process.

This toolkit provides detailed information about how to replicate this project for use with young adults across the U.S. Following you will find the baseline survey used to recruit participants for the intervention, text messages used, timeline for sending text messages, and the post survey. In section three, we share considerations that researchers and educators should account for when developing an informational intervention. The toolkit concludes with resources related to the topic of student loan repayment.