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Miles to go before I learn: The effect of travel distance on the mature person's choice of a community college

  • Jepsen, Christopher
  • Montgomery, Mark

The substantial literature on access to higher education has a narrow focus: the effect of tuition on the enrollment decisions of 18-year-olds seeking bachelors degrees. But for non-traditional (i.e. older) students who tend to prefer community college, access is more about a school's location than about its tuition and fees. Using data on over 150,000 mature workers (aged 25 to 49) in the Greater Baltimore area, we analyze the impact of travel distance on community college enrollment decisions. We find that distance is a highly statistically significant factor in deciding whether to enroll in community college, and in which school to choose. Simulations of the model suggest that if the typical resident had to travel three additional miles from home to the nearest college, enrollment could drop by as much as 14%.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 65 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 64-73

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:65:y:2009:i:1:p:64-73
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  1. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
  2. repec:mpr:mprres:3250 is not listed on IDEAS
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  4. Trisha Bezmen & Craig A. Depken II, 1996. "School Characteristics and the Demand for College," HEW 9609001, EconWPA.
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  7. Moore, Robert L. & Studenmund, A. H. & Slobko, Thomas, 1991. "The effect of the financial aid package on the choice of a selective college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 311-321, December.
  8. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1999. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin between College and Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 63-84, Winter.
  9. Terry Long, B.Bridget, 2004. "How have college decisions changed over time? An application of the conditional logistic choice model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 271-296.
  10. Neil Seftor Sarah E Turner, 2002. "Back to School Federal Student Aid Policy and Adult College Enrollment," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 28f7ccb624fd4f2a9a20d7075, Mathematica Policy Research.
  11. McPherson, Michael S & Schapiro, Morton Owen, 1991. "Does Student Aid Affect College Enrollment? New Evidence on a Persistent Controversy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 309-18, March.
  12. Hilmer, Michael J., 1998. "Post-secondary fees and the decision to attend a university or a community college," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 329-348, March.
  13. Wetzel, James & O'Toole, Dennis & Peterson, Steven, 1998. "An Analysis of Student Enrollment Demand," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 47-54, February.
  14. Louis Jacobson & Robert J. Lalonde & Daniel Sullivan, 2005. "The Impact of Community College Retraining on Older Displaced Workers: Should We Teach Old Dogs New Tricks?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 398-415, April.
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