Summer counseling

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Seeks to address the problem of students failing to matriculate after being accepted into college
  • Provides counseling in the months between high school graduation and college enrollment
  • May contain individualized case management, peer mentors, academic advising, and information on resources such as financial aid, registering for courses, and finding medical insurance

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse

Target population

Students enrolled in post-secondary education

Program cost

$80-$200 per participant

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • Mixed effect on college enrollment
  • Increased credit accumulation

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review.
  • Prepare a robust, multi-faceted engagement plan for college counselors or peer mentors, including texting, email, phone, social media, and/or in-person contact on a weekly basis.
  • Prioritize counseling related to unanticipated costs and financial needs associated with college enrollment (such as health insurance and student activity fees).
  • Train counselors to address informational and logistical challenges, especially navigating financial aid and funding sources and filling out paperwork.
  • Prompt counselors to strike a balance between offering encouragement and realistic solutions to navigate a host of new challenges for the student.
  • Successful models take a range of forms: both in-person counseling (2-3 hours over the course of the summer) and automated, personalized text messaging approaches have shown promising results.

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