Date Presented

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Jessica Scheld, PhD

Second Advisor

Edward DeClair, PhD

Third Advisor

Michael Craig, PhD


College retention rates are a frequently discussed topic amid declining retention and increasing time to degree completion. My research will evaluate whether a targeted nudging program has any impact on second-year students retaining to their third year at University of Lynchburg. Nudging defined as, “…any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives…” as discussed by Thaler and Sunstein (2008). I will analyze the outcome of nudging student behavior via weekly text alerts centered around Academic, Social, Career, and/or Financial information students have self-selected to receive has on GPA and, post-graduation, retention rates. I find there is no significant difference in GPA between the control and test group. However, the additional alerts do provide an increase in average attendance of events. Results of this study provide knowledge on implementation of a low-cost program that has the potential to increase student engagement.