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Information Policies and Higher Education Choices Experimental Evidence from Colombia


  • Leonardo Bonilla


  • Nicolas L. Bottan


  • Andres Ham



Governments have recently invested in online information systems that provide labor market statistics and financial aid options to help students make higher education choices. This paper uses a randomized controlled trial to study the extent to which this information influences students’ understanding of the potential wage premium associated with various college degrees; performance on tests that are key in college admissions; and subsequent decisions about whether and where to enroll in college. We collect data on more than 6,000 students across 115 public schools in Bogotá, Colombia. Students in 58 schools were given a 35-minute presentation that provides labor market and funding information: average earning premiums upon completing college, available financial aid options to cover costs, and the importance of test scores for admission and financing. Results indicate that students learn about financial aid but do not change their generally inflated beliefs about earnings associated with college degrees. Test scores and college enrollment are unchanged by the treatment, although we find evidence that the intervention leads more students to choose to attend selective colleges. ***** Varios gobiernos han establecido sistemas de información en línea que proveen estadísticas laborales y opciones de financiamiento para ayudar a los alumnos a tomar mejores decisiones sobre educación superior. Este trabajo utiliza un experimento aleatorio para estudiar cuanto dicha información afecta: el conocimiento de los alumnos sobre los beneficios salariales esperados de distintas carreras universitarias; su desempeño en las pruebas SABER 11; y sus decisiones sobre matrícula universitaria. Recolectamos datos sobre mas de 6.000 alumnos en 115 colegios distritales en Bogotá, Colombia. En 58 colegios, los alumnos recibieron una charla de 35 minutos con información sobre los beneficios esperados de la educación superior, opciones de financiamiento para pagar la universidad y la importancia de las notas y pruebas para la admisión y acceso a becas. Los resultados indican que los alumnos obtienen mayor conocimiento sobre ayuda financiera, pero no cambian sus percepciones infladas sobre los salarios esperados al obtener un título de educación superior. El tratamiento no afecta el desempeño en las pruebas Saber 11 ni la tasa de matrícula, aunque sí encontramos evidencia que la intervención motiva a los alumnos a inscribirse en instituciones mas selectivas.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Bonilla & Nicolas L. Bottan & Andres Ham, 2017. "Information Policies and Higher Education Choices Experimental Evidence from Colombia," Documentos de trabajo 017645, Escuela de Gobierno - Universidad de los Andes.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000547:017645

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