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Informing Students about College: An Efficient Way to Decrease the Socio-Economic Gap in Enrollment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

Author

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  • Frauke H. Peter
  • C. Katharina Spieß
  • Vaishali Zambre

Abstract

Although the proportion of students enrolled in college increased in the last decades, students from non-college family backgrounds remain underrepresented in higher education around the world. This study sheds light on whether the provision of information in a randomized controlled trial with more than 1,000 German high school students results in higher college enrollment rates. One year prior to high school graduation, we treated students in randomly selected schools by giving an in-class presentation on the benefits and costs of higher education as well as on possible funding options for college education. We collected data from students prior to the information intervention and followed them for four consecutive years. We find evidence that an information intervention increases students’ application as well as their enrollment rates, in particular for students from non-college backgrounds with enrollment intentions prior to treatment. Moreover, treated students persist in college at a similar rate as students in the control group, i.e. they are not more likely to drop out of college. Our results indicate that a low-cost information intervention is an efficient tool to encourage students to translate their college intentions into actual enrollment.

Suggested Citation

  • Frauke H. Peter & C. Katharina Spieß & Vaishali Zambre, 2018. "Informing Students about College: An Efficient Way to Decrease the Socio-Economic Gap in Enrollment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1770, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1770
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2021. "Does Ignorance of Economic Returns and Costs Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Representative Evidence from Adults and Adolescents," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(351), pages 624-670, July.
    2. Mathias Huebener, 2019. "Life Expectancy and Parental Education in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1023, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Ballarino, Gabriele & Filippin, Antonio & Abbiati, Giovanni & Argentin, Gianluca & Barone, Carlo & Schizzerotto, Antonio, 2022. "The effects of an information campaign beyond university enrolment: A large-scale field experiment on the choices of high school students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    4. Jan Berkes & Frauke Peter & C. Katharina Spiess & Felix Weinhardt, 2022. "Information Provision and Postgraduate Studies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(355), pages 627-646, July.
    5. Huebener, Mathias, 2019. "Life expectancy and parental education," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 351-365.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    college enrollment; college benefits; college costs; educational inequality; information; randomized controlled trial;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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