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The full extent of student-college academic undermatch

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  • Smith, Jonathan
  • Pender, Matea
  • Howell, Jessica

Abstract

This paper quantifies the extent of student-college “academic undermatch,” which occurs when a student's academic credentials permit them access to a college or university that is more selective than the postsecondary alternative they actually choose. Using a nationally representative dataset, we find that 41 percent of students undermatch in their postsecondary choice. We also find that academic undermatch affects students with a range of academic credentials, but is more common among those students from low socioeconomic status families, who live in rural areas, and whose parents have no college degree. Finally, we show that between the 1992 and 2004 high school senior cohorts, academic undermatch has decreased by nearly 20 percent. The decrease is partially due to students being more likely to apply to a matched college.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 247-261

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:247-261

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

Related research

Keywords: Educational economics; College choice; Postsecondary education; Mismatch; Undermatch;

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References

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  1. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  3. Webber, Douglas A. & Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Do expenditures other than instructional expenditures affect graduation and persistence rates in American higher education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 947-958, December.
  4. Long, M.C.Mark C., 2004. "College applications and the effect of affirmative action," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 319-342.
  5. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2000. "Determinants of College Completion: School Quality or Student Ability?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 299-332.
  6. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Long, Mark C., 2008. "College quality and early adult outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 588-602, October.
  8. Pallais, Amanda & Turner, Sarah, 2006. "Opportunities for Low–Income Students at Top Colleges and Universities: Policy Initiatives and the Distribution of Students," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(2), pages 357-86, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Caroline Hoxby & Sarah Turner, . "Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving, Low Income Students," Discussion Papers 12-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eric Parsons, 2014. "The Impact of Attending Low-Achieving Schools on High-Performing Student Outcomes," Working Papers 1407, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  4. Smith, Jonathan, 2013. "Ova and out: Using twins to estimate the educational returns to attending a selective college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 166-180.

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