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The effects of interrupted enrollment on graduation from college: Racial, income, and ability differences


  • DesJardins, Stephen L.
  • Ahlburg, Dennis A.
  • McCall, Brian P.


We present a multiple spells-competing risks model of stopout, dropout, reenrollment, and graduation behavior. We find that students who experience an initial stopout are more likely to experience subsequent stopouts (occurrence dependence) and be less likely to graduate. We also find evidence of the impact of the length of an initial spell on the probability of subsequent events (lagged duration dependence). We simulate the impacts of race, family income, and high school performance on student behavior and show that there are often very large differences between unadjusted rates of student outcomes and adjusted rates. Differences in student performance often ascribed to race are shown to be the result of income, age at entry, and high school performance.
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  • DesJardins, Stephen L. & Ahlburg, Dennis A. & McCall, Brian P., 2006. "The effects of interrupted enrollment on graduation from college: Racial, income, and ability differences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 575-590, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:25:y:2006:i:6:p:575-590

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. P. Wesley Routon & Jay K. Walker, 2015. "A Smart Break? College Tenure Interruption and Graduating Student Outcomes," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 244-276, March.
    2. Horacio Matos-Díaz, 2009. "Determinantes de las tasas universitarias de graduación, retención y deserción en Puerto Rico: Un estudio de Caso," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Kurlaender, Michal & Jackson, Jacob & Howell, Jessica S. & Grodsky, Eric, 2014. "College course scarcity and time to degree," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 24-39.
    5. Marialuisa Restaino, 2008. "Dropping out of University of Salerno: a survival approach," Working Papers 3_193, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno.
    6. repec:eee:jcjust:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:34-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nicolas Gury, 2011. "Dropping out of higher education in France: a micro-economic approach using survival analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 51-64.

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