Ramp It Up is a project that uses a gamified mobile app to increase the financial capability of high school students about financing post-secondary education.
Ramp It Up is a gamified college readiness mobile app. It seeks to empower high school students to make positive financial decisions related to paying for college.
Higher education can be critical to long-term financial prosperity. Yet research has found relatively low attendance at four-year institutions by college-ready students from lower-income families (50%) compared to higher-income households (over 80%). One cause of this disparity is the lack of financial capability, awareness, and skills about financing higher education. Commonwealth believes that presenting students with a compelling, interactive, “gamified” experience offers a promising opportunity to involve high school students in thinking about and improving college financial readiness.
Ramp It Up engages students through a process of building financial muscles related to debt decisions, securing financial aid, and analyzing the best college return on investment. This approach aligns with existing habits of high school students across race and gender lines, and holds tremendous potential to scale quickly and cost effectively and reach young people where other types of interventions do not.
Commonwealth tested Ramp It Up in a pre-pilot study with 50 students and found significant and promising changes in financial capability and self-reported projected behavior, specifically in regards to seeking college financing. We then did a larger scale study with over 500 more students in six states, including the treatment and control groups, to understand how Ramp It Up impacts knowledge, action taking, and more.
Ramp It Up has been recognized as a promising and pioneering innovation by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Empowerment Innovation Fund.