Ben Castleman is a Doctoral Candidate in the Quantitative Policy Analysis program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is a recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Ben is a Lumina Foundation/Institute for Higher Education Policy Academic Fellow, and is a recipient of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders award, given annually by The Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Ben's research focuses on policies to improve college access and success for low-income students. Several of his papers examine innovative strategies to deliver high-quality information about the college-going process to low-income students and their families, and to ease the process of students and families getting professional support when they need assistance. He has conducted several randomized trials to investigate how the offer of college counseling during the summer after high school impacts the rate and quality of low-income students’ college enrollment. Ben's dissertation examines the impact of a large randomized trial that provided high school graduates in five urban school districts with text message reminders of key college-related tasks, customized to their intended institution, and offered to connect them to a school counselor if they needed help. In addition, Ben uses quasi-experimental methods to study the impact of state and federal need-based grant programs on students’ long-term collegiate outcomes. Ben's work has been published in Social Science Quarterly, The Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, and Thought in Action; he also has working papers currently under review at The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Education Finance & Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and New Directions for Youth Development. Ben's research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Lindback Foundation, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Ben has held a number of teaching fellowships at Harvard, primarily in the fields of applied microeconomics and program evaluation. He has received two Harvard Presidential Instructional Technology Fellowships to develop innovative pedagogical approaches to enhance students’ learning in applied microeconomics courses. Before coming to Harvard Ben was a teacher and district administrator at The Met Center school district in Providence, RI. He is a graduate of Brown University.