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Student Awareness of Costs and Benefits of Educational Decisions: Effects of an Information Campaign

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  • Marty McGuigan
  • Sandra McNally
  • Gill Wyness

Abstract

University fees have recently trebled in England and there are fears that many young people may be put off from participating in further and higher education - especially those from low income backgrounds. This could exacerbate inequalities that are already very stark in the UK. In this paper, we investigate students' knowledge and their receptiveness to information campaigns about the costs and benefits of staying on in education. We design an 'information campaign' that gives some simple facts about economic and financial aspects of educational decisions and test students' response to this campaign. The fieldwork for our information campaign took place over the period in which the trebling of university fees was announced. This was widely reported in the media, so we also test receptiveness to the surrounding media campaign. The analysis shows evidence of large gaps in students' knowledge, which are influenced both by the information campaign and media reporting about the increase of tuition fees. However, the latter greatly increased the perception of going to university as 'too expensive' - especially among low income groups. Our experiment shows that simple information campaigns can help to mitigate this negative impact on attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Marty McGuigan & Sandra McNally & Gill Wyness, 2012. "Student Awareness of Costs and Benefits of Educational Decisions: Effects of an Information Campaign," CEE Discussion Papers 0139, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0139
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    File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp139.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-26.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
    3. Booij, Adam S. & Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2012. "The role of information in the take-up of student loans," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 33-44.
    4. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    6. Julian R. Betts, 1996. "What Do Students Know about Wages? Evidence from a Survey of Undergraduates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 27-56.
    7. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frauke H. Peter & Vaishali Zambre, 2014. "Wer studiert, ist informiert?: Studienentscheidungen und Informationsdefizite," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 35, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Görlitz, Katja & Tamm, Marcus, 2017. "Information, financial aid and training participation: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 138-148.
    3. Giovanni Abbiati & Gianluca Argentin & Carlo Barone & Antonio Schizzerotto, 2016. "Information matters, but it is not enough: a field experiment on the causal effect of information barriers for participation in Higher Education," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2016-11, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    4. Giovanni Abbiati & Carlo Barone, 2015. "Is university education worth the investment? The expectations of upper secondary school seniors and the role of family background," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2015-13, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tuition fees; information campaign; educational decisions;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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