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The effect of abolishing university tuition costs: evidence from Ireland

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  • Kevin Denny

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

Abstract

University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socio-economic gradient to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality that is improving the chances of low socio-economic status (SES) students progressing to university. It finds that the reform clearly did not have that effect. It is also shown that the university/SES gradient can be explained by differential performance at second level. Students from white collar backgrounds do significantly better in their final second level exams than the children of blue-collar workers. The results are very similar to recent findings for the UK. The results show that the effect of SES on school performance is generally stronger for those at the lower end of the conditional distribution of academic attainment.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W11/05.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:11/05

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  1. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
  2. Benjamin Levin, 1990. "Tuition Fees and University Accessibility," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 16(1), pages 51-59, March.
  3. Neill, Christine, 2009. "Tuition fees and the demand for university places," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 561-570, October.
  4. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
  5. Denny, Kevin & Doyle, Orla & McMullin, Patricia & O'Sullivan, Vincent, 2014. "Money, mentoring and making friends: The impact of a multidimensional access program on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 167-182.
  6. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Torben Sørensen & Christopher Taber, 2010. "Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 185-215 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Haroon Chowdry & Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Alissa Goodman & Anna Vignoles, 2010. "Widening Participation in Higher Education: Analysis Using Linked Administrative Data," DoQSS Working Papers 10-08, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  8. Rita Asplund & Oussama Ben Adbelkarim & Ali Skalli, 2008. "An equity perspective on access to, enrolment in and finance of tertiary education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 261-274.
  9. Olive Sweetman, 2002. "College Attendance, Tutition and Family Income," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1181002, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  10. Hübner, Malte, 2012. "Do tuition fees affect enrollment behavior? Evidence from a ‘natural experiment’ in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 949-960.
  11. Michael B. Coelli, 2009. "Tuition fees and equality of university enrolment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1072-1099, August.
  12. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Flannery, Darragh & O’Donoghue, Cathal, 2013. "The demand for higher education: A static structural approach accounting for individual heterogeneity and nesting patterns," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 243-257.
  2. Denny, Kevin & Doyle, Orla & O’Reilly, Patricia & O’Sullivan, Vincent, 2010. "Money, Mentoring and Making Friends : The Impact of a Multidimensional Access Program on Student Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 932, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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