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Understanding the Increased Time to the Baccalaureate Degree

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Author Info

  • John Bound

    (University of Michigan)

  • Sarah Turner

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

Time until completion of a baccalaureate degree has increased markedly over the last three decades. Between 1972 and 1992, average time to degree increased by more than one-quarter of a year, the completion rate among college attendees dropped from 51.1% to 45.3% and, among those receiving degrees, the percent receiving a degree within 4 years dropped from 56.8% to 43.6%. We assess the extent to which these shifts result from changes in the preparation of college students over time, reductions in collegiate resources, erosion in family circumstances, or other broad macro-economic adjustments. We produce evidence that increased stratification in U.S. higher education and reductions in collegiate resources outside the top-tier of institutions are a primary component of the explanation for the observed increases in time to degree. The shift toward initial enrollment at two-year institutions rather than four-year institutions accounts for some of the decline in completion rates. In addition, we find evidence of increased hours of employment among students, which is consistent with students working more to meet rising college costs.

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File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/06-043.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 06-043.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:06-043

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Related research

Keywords: college degree; bachelors degree;

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References

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  2. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "Working During School and Academic Performance," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20009, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  3. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
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  7. Courant, Paul N. & McPherson, Michael & Resch, Alexandra M., 2006. "The Public Role in Higher Education," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(2), pages 291-318, June.
  8. Light, Audrey, 2001. "In-School Work Experience and the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, January.
  9. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2006. "Cohort Crowding: How Resources Affect Collegiate Attainment," NBER Working Papers 12424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Democratization or Diversion? The Effect of Community Colleges on Educational Attainment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 217-24, April.
  13. Thomas J. Kane, 1996. "College Cost, Borrowing Constraints and the Timing of College Entry," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 181-194, Spring.
  14. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Light, Audrey, 2009. "Interpreting Degree Effects in the Returns to Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Light, Audrey, 2009. "Interpreting Degree Effects in the Returns to Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Pietro Garibaldi & Francesco Giavazzi & Andrea Ichino & Enrico Rettore, 2012. "College Cost and Time to Complete a Degree: Evidence from Tuition Discontinuities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 699-711, August.
  3. William R. Johnson & Sarah Turner, 2009. "Faculty without Students: Resource Allocation in Higher Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 169-89, Spring.
  4. John Bound & Brad Hershbein & Bridget Terry Long, 2009. "Playing the Admissions Game: Student Reactions to Increasing College Competition," NBER Working Papers 15272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nefstead, Ward E. & Gillard, Steve A., 2008. "A Model for Estimating Time to Degree in Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources: A University of Minnesota Case Study," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6442, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  6. Gunnes, Trude & Kirkebøen, Lars J. & Rønning, Marte, 2013. "Financial incentives and study duration in higher education," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-11.

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