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Access to Technology and the Transfer Function of Community Colleges: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    ()
    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Grunberg, Samantha H.

    ()
    (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)

Abstract

Access to information may represent an important barrier to learning about and ultimately transferring to 4-year colleges for low-income community college students. This paper explores the role that access to information technology, in particular, plays in enhancing, or possibly detracting from, the transfer function of the community college. Using data from the first-ever field experiment randomly providing free computers to students, we examine the relationships between access to home computers and enrollment in transferable courses and actual transfers to 4-year colleges. The results from the field experiment indicate that the treatment group of students receiving free computers has a 4.5 percentage point higher probability of taking transferable courses than the control group of students not receiving free computers. The evidence is less clear for the effects on actual transfers to 4-year colleges and the probability of using a computer to search for college information (which possibly represents one of the mechanisms for positive effects). In both cases, point estimates are positive, but the confidence intervals are wide. Finally, power calculations indicate that sample sizes would have to be considerably larger to find statistically significant treatment effects and reasonably precise confidence intervals given the actual transfer rate point estimates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7764.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7764

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Keywords: computer; experiment; ICT; community college; transfers; technology;

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References

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  1. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "Computers and Student Learning: Bivariate and Multivariate Evidence on the Availability and Use of Computers at Home and at School," CESifo Working Paper Series 1321, CESifo Group Munich.
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  6. Christopher Jepsen & Kenneth Troske & Paul Coomes, 2014. "The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 95 - 121.
  7. Jepsen, Christopher, 2008. "Multinomial probit estimates of college completion at 2-year and 4-year schools," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 155-160, February.
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  12. Zavodny, Madeline, 2006. "Does watching television rot your mind? Estimates of the effect on test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 565-573, October.
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  18. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2011. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 987-1027.
  19. Robert W. Fairlie & Daniel O. Beltran & Kuntal K. Das, 2010. "HOME COMPUTERS AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES: EVIDENCE FROM THE NLSY97 and CPS-super-," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 771-792, 07.
  20. Leigh, D. E. & Gill, A. M., 2003. "Do community colleges really divert students from earning bachelor's degrees?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 23-30, February.
  21. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 2007. "Do Community Colleges Respond to Local Needs? Evidence from California," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number dcc.
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