RIPL

R2C/ Rhode to College

A science-powered program empowering low-income, high-achieving students on the path to college

Every student deserves a chance to succeed. Rhode2College (R2C) is a step-by-step, achievement-focused program designed to motivate high-performing students from low-income households to take the needed steps to prepare for and enroll in college. 

R2C was piloted in Rhode Island in partnership with the College Board, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, and the Rhode Island Department of Education. To date, R2C has served over 1,400 low-income juniors and seniors across more than 60 Rhode Island public high schools, and is launching a pilot in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2021. 

R2C uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot which texts students with a monthly college preparation milestone over their junior and senior year of college, along with guidance on completing each step. Students can earn up to $1,000 during the program — some of which is earned after each milestone they complete, and some of which is granted in a savings account when they matriculate at college.

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“College seems really big, imposing, and kind of scary, but Rhode2College really breaks things down… it reminds you of the little things you really don’t think about, and puts them into perspective.”   R2C Scholar

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How R2C Works

R2C breaks down college preparation into achievable steps along a student’s journey to college. R2C is supported by an AI texting chatbot, “Rhody.” Each month, Rhody sends students information about an important college preparation milestone, developed in partnership with education experts and behavioral scientists. Examples of milestones include completing the FAFSA, preparing for the SATⓇ on Khan AcademyⓇ, and submitting a college application.

 

R2C rewards students for completing their college-readiness milestones. R2C motivates students to make progress toward their college goals by giving money to students immediately upon completion of each milestone and setting money aside in a savings account upon matriculating at college. Students earn approximately $500 between the start of their junior year and high school graduation and $500 once they enroll in college.


R2C is low-cost, light-touch, and high-impact. Rhody provides 24/7 texting support for students, answering college-related questions and providing milestone information. Rhody informs students of their progress and total amount earned, reminds students of important upcoming deadlines, and forwards any questions it cannot answer to R2C staff.

Guiding Students to Stay on the Path to Success

Initial results from R2C’s first pilot suggests that the program has an outsized impact on student outcomes. R2C helps students stay focused, motivated, and informed — taking clear steps each month towards their college and postsecondary goals.   

 

  • R2C Scholars are 12 percentage points more likely to enroll in college immediately after high school. 65% enrolled in college for Fall 2020; a 12 percentage point increase compared to college among similar students in the previous graduating class.
  • R2C helps motivate Scholars study smarter and harder for the SAT. R2C scholars complete the College Board’s recommended number of SAT practice hours at 4.5x the national average.

     

  • R2C gives Scholars the information needed to choose high-returns colleges. Rhode2College helps Scholars stay on a path toward colleges that will provide greater yields for them in the long-term, decreasing potential debt, and increasing potential future earnings. R2C’s 2020 Scholars committed to colleges with $6,000 higher Return-on-Investment (ROI) than previous students with similar backgrounds (see Figure 1 above).

     

  • R2C helps students feel supported and prepared for their futures. 90% of Scholars would recommend Rhode2College to their friends “highly” or “extremely highly.” One student summed it up: “This restored my hope that I am actually going to go to college.”

     

  • R2C Scholars are engaged and enthusiastic about the program every step of the way. R2C Scholars complete their Milestones at a rate of 60 percent on average, showing persistent engagement with the program.
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“[Rhode2College has] been great in helping me find what I wanted to study in college and the entire process has been easier because of the help that they have given me.” 

R2C Scholar

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“I don’t think I would’ve been able to keep track of all of the things needed to enroll into a college without R2C. It helped me organize everything and complete everything on time.”    R2C Scholar

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