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Heterogeneous paths through college: Detailed patterns and relationships with graduation and earnings

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  • Andrews, Rodney
  • Li, Jing
  • Lovenheim, Michael F.

Abstract

A considerable fraction of college students and bachelor's degree recipients enroll in multiple postsecondary institutions. Despite this fact, there is scant research that examines the nature of the paths – both the number and types of institutions – that students take to obtain a bachelor's degree or through the higher education system more generally. We also know little about how enrollment in multiple institutions of varying quality relates to postgraduate life outcomes. We use a unique panel data set from Texas that allows us to examine in detail the paths that students take toward a bachelor's degree and estimate how enrollment in multiple institutions is related to both degree completion and subsequent earnings. We show that the paths to a bachelor's degree are diverse and that earnings and BA receipt vary systematically with these paths. Our results call attention to the importance of developing a more complete understanding of why students transfer and what causal role transferring has on the returns to postsecondary educational investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrews, Rodney & Li, Jing & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2014. "Heterogeneous paths through college: Detailed patterns and relationships with graduation and earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 93-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:42:y:2014:i:c:p:93-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.07.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrews, Rodney J. & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2020. "Recruiting and supporting low-income, high-achieving students at flagship universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    2. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2020. "The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(3), pages 767-808.
    3. Russell, Lauren, 2019. "Better outcomes without increased costs? Effects of Georgia’s University System consolidations," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 122-135.
    4. William Casey Boland & Marybeth Gasman & Andrés Castro Samayoa & DeShaun Bennett, 2021. "The Effect of Enrolling in Minority Serving Institutions on Earnings Compared to Non-minority Serving Institutions: A College Scorecard Analysis," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 62(2), pages 121-150, March.
    5. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Nicole Gorton & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2020. "State Investment in Higher Education: Effects on Human Capital Formation, Student Debt, and Long-term Financial Outcomes of Students," NBER Working Papers 27885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    7. Rodney J. Andrews & John Thompson, 2017. "Earning your CAP: A Comprehensive Analysis of The University of Texas System's Coordinated Admissions Program," NBER Working Papers 23442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Rodney J. Andrews & Jing Li & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "Quantile Treatment Effects of College Quality on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 200-238.
    9. Falch, Torberg & Iversen, Jon Marius Vaag & Nyhus, Ole Henning & Strøm, Bjarne, 2022. "Quality measures in higher education: Norwegian evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    10. Patrick Denice, 2017. "Back to School: Racial and Gender Differences in Adults’ Participation in Formal Schooling, 1978–2013," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(3), pages 1147-1173, June.
    11. Ben Ost & Weixiang Pan & Douglas Webber, 2018. "The Returns to College Persistence for Marginal Students: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from University Dismissal Policies," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 779-805.
    12. Toby J. Park & Stella M. Flores & Christopher J. Ryan, 2018. "Labor Market Returns for Graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(1), pages 29-53, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    College transferring; Returns to college quality; Postsecondary education;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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