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A Quest for Equity? Measuring the Effect of QuestBridge on Economic Diversity at Selective Institutions

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  • Fernando Furquim

    () (University of Michigan)

  • Kristen M. Glasener

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

In response to growing income stratification in higher education, President Obama convened a White House Summit in 2014 where over 100 selective institutions committed to increasing the number of low-income students on their campus. One way colleges proposed to do so is through partnerships with college access organizations like QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the percentage of low-income students at elite universities. While institutions purport that QuestBridge improved socioeconomic diversity, empirical research has not confirmed these claims. In this study, we estimate the effect of QuestBridge on overall access of Pell eligible students at partner institutions using quasi-experimental methods. We find no increase in the economic diversity of colleges after establishing a partnership with QuestBridge, except for colleges simultaneously partnering with QuestBridge and enacting no-loan financial aid policies. We also consider whether participation in QuestBridge increases institutional status through larger application volumes and increased selectivity, and discuss implications for research and practice in the area of stratification.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando Furquim & Kristen M. Glasener, 2017. "A Quest for Equity? Measuring the Effect of QuestBridge on Economic Diversity at Selective Institutions," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(6), pages 646-671, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9443-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11162-016-9443-x
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