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Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States

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  • John Bound
  • Michael F. Lovenheim
  • Sarah Turner

Abstract

Time to completion of the baccalaureate degree has increased markedly in the United States over the last three decades, even as the wage premium for college graduates has continued to rise. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972 and the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, we show that the increase in time to degree is localized among those who begin their postsecondary education at public colleges outside the most selective universities. In addition, we find evidence that the increases in time to degree were more marked amongst low income students. We consider several potential explanations for these trends. First, we find no evidence that changes in the college preparedness or the demographic composition of degree recipients can account for the observed increases. Instead, our results suggest that declines in collegiate resources in the less-selective public sector increased time to degree. Furthermore, we present evidence of increased hours of employment among students, which is consistent with students working more to meet rising college costs and likely increases time to degree by crowding out time spent on academic pursuits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15892.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2012. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 375-424, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15892

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Cited by:
  1. Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2012. "What Explains Trends In Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 65(1), pages 181-210, March.
  2. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Patrick Coate & V. Joseph Hotz, 2012. "Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209," NBER Working Papers 18523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Patrick Coate & V. Joseph Hotz, 2013. "Affirmative action and university fit: evidence from Proposition 209," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51565, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Giorgia Casalone & Carmen Aina, 2011. "Does time-to-degree matter? The effect of delayed graduation on employment and wages," Working Papers 38, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
  5. Aina, Carmen & Pastore, Francesco, 2012. "Delayed Graduation and Overeducation: A Test of the Human Capital Model versus the Screening Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 6413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Judith Scott-Clayton, 2012. "Information Constraints and Financial Aid Policy," NBER Working Papers 17811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Carmen Aina & Eliana Baici & Giorgia Casalone, 2010. "Time-to-Degree: Students' Abilities, University Characteristics or What Else? Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 130, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  8. Darolia, Rajeev, 2014. "Working (and studying) day and night: Heterogeneous effects of working on the academic performance of full-time and part-time students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 38-50.
  9. Smith, Jonathan & Pender, Matea & Howell, Jessica, 2013. "The full extent of student-college academic undermatch," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 247-261.
  10. Brad J. Hershbein & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2013. "The Distribution of College Graduate Debt, 1990 to 2008: A Decomposition Approach," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-204, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  11. Judith Scott-Clayton, 2012. "What Explains Trends in Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates, 1970-2009?," NBER Working Papers 17744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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