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The Returns to Four-Year College for Academically Marginal Students

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  • Zimmerman, Seth D.

    ()
    (Princeton University)

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    Abstract

    I combine a regression discontinuity design with rich data on academic and labor market outcomes for a large sample of Florida students to identify the returns to four-year college for students on the academic margin of college admission. In addition, I develop a theoretical model of college choice with and without credit constraints that allows for intuitive tests of the importance of credit constraints within this population. I find that students who obtain high school grades just above the threshold value for admissions eligibility at a large public university in Florida are much more likely to attend a four-year college and much less likely to attend a community college than students with grades just below the threshold. The earnings returns to a year of four-year college for affected students are 8.7 percent, nearly identical to returns to college for the population of Florida high school students. Consistent with the credit constraints hypothesis, poorer students who are more likely to be credit constrained work more while in college and realize higher post-college returns.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6107.

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    Length: 60 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6107

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    Keywords: returns to college; credit constraints; community college;

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    1. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
    2. Ross Levine & Alexey Levkov & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Racial Discrimination and Competition," CEP Discussion Papers dp1069, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Working Papers 2011-037, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Louis Jacobson & Robert LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2002. "Estimating the returns to community college schooling for displaced workers," Working Paper Series WP-02-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-19, CIRANO.
    6. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2009. "Into College, Out of Poverty? Policies to Increase the Postsecondary Attainment of the Poor," NBER Working Papers 15387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pedro Carneiro & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Estimating marginal returns to education," CeMMAP working papers CWP29/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Colin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 2002. "Are There Returns To The Wages Of Young Men From Working While In School?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 221-236, May.
    10. Thomas J. Kane, 2003. "A Quasi-Experimental Estimate of the Impact of Financial Aid on College-Going," NBER Working Papers 9703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Costas Meghir & Steven G. Rivkin, 2010. "Econometric Methods for Research in Education," NBER Working Papers 16003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Susan Dynarski, 2002. "The Behavioral and Distributional Implications of Aid for College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 279-285, May.
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