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Student Awareness of Costs and Benefits of Educational Decisions: Effects of an Information Campaign

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  • Marty McGuigan
  • Sandra McNally
  • Gill Wyness
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    Abstract

    University fees have recently trebled in England and there are fears that many young people may be put off from participating in further and higher education - especially those from low income backgrounds. This could exacerbate inequalities that are already very stark in the UK. In this paper, we investigate students' knowledge and their receptiveness to information campaigns about the costs and benefits of staying on in education. We design an 'information campaign' that gives some simple facts about economic and financial aspects of educational decisions and test students' response to this campaign. The fieldwork for our information campaign took place over the period in which the trebling of university fees was announced. This was widely reported in the media, so we also test receptiveness to the surrounding media campaign. The analysis shows evidence of large gaps in students' knowledge, which are influenced both by the information campaign and media reporting about the increase of tuition fees. However, the latter greatly increased the perception of going to university as 'too expensive' - especially among low income groups. Our experiment shows that simple information campaigns can help to mitigate this negative impact on attitudes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0139.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0139

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    Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

    Related research

    Keywords: tuition fees; information campaign; educational decisions;

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    1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-26.
    2. Julian R. Betts, 1996. "What Do Students Know about Wages? Evidence from a Survey of Undergraduates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 27-56.
    3. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Adam Booij & Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2008. "The Role of Information in the Take-up of Student Loans," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-039/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548, May.
    6. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    7. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
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