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Money, Mentoring and Making Friends: The Impact of a Multidimensional Access Program on Student Performance

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Author Info

  • Kevin Denny

    (UCD School of Economics & UCD Geary Institute)

  • Orla Doyle

    (UCD Geary Institute)

  • Patricia O'Reilly

    (UCD Geary Institute)

  • Vincent O'Sullivan

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

There is a well established socioeconomic gradient in educational attainment, despite much effort in recent decades to address this inequality. This study evaluates a university access program that provides financial, academic and social support to low socioeconomic status (SES) students using a natural experiment which exploits the time variation in the expansion of the program across schools. The program has parallels with US affirmative actions programs, although preferential treatment is based on SES rather than ethnicity. Evaluating the effectiveness of programs targeting disadvantaged students in Ireland is particularly salient given the high rate of return to education and the lack of intergenerational mobility in educational attainment. Overall, we identify positive treatment effects on first year exam performance, progression to second year and final year graduation rates, with the impact often stronger for higher ability students. We find similar patterns of results for students that entered through the regular system and the ‘affirmative action’ group i.e. the students that entered with lower high school grades. The program affects the performance of both male and female students, albeit in different ways. This study suggests that access programs can be an effective means of improving academic outcomes for socio-economically disadvantaged students.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201021.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201021.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 09 Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201021

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Keywords: Education inequality; Access programs; Natural experiment; Economics of education;

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References

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  1. Isobel Claire Gormley & Thomas Brendan Murphy, 2006. "Analysis of Irish third-level college applications data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 361-379.
  2. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
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  7. Roland G. Fryer Jr. & Glenn C. Loury, 2005. "Affirmative Action and Its Mythology," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 147-162, Summer.
  8. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," NBER Working Papers 15471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeremy P. Smith & Robin A. Naylor, 2001. "Dropping out of university: A statistical analysis of the probability of withdrawal for UK university students," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(2), pages 389-405.
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  11. Massimiliano BRATTI & Robin NAYLOR & Jeremy SMITH, 2008. "Heterogeneities in the returns to degrees: evidence from the British cohort study 1970," Departmental Working Papers 2008-40, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  12. Susan Dynarski, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," NBER Working Papers 7756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2004. "Targeted Remedial Education for Under-Performing Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 10575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lorraine Dearden & Leslie McGranahan & Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "The Role of Credit Constraints in Educational Choices: Evidence from NCDS and BCS70," CEE Discussion Papers 0048, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  15. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 629-62, September.
  16. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Denny, Kevin, 2014. "The effect of abolishing university tuition costs: Evidence from Ireland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 26-33.

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