IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

First Degree Earns: The Impact of College Quality on College Completion Rates

  • Cohodes, Sarah

    (Harvard University)

  • Goodman, Joshua

    (Harvard University)

We use a Massachusetts merit aid program to provide the first clear causal evidence on the impact of college quality on students' postsecondary enrollment decisions and rates of degree completion, where college quality is defined by a variety of measures including on-time graduation rates. High school students with test scores above multiple thresholds were granted tuition waivers at in-state public colleges of lower quality than the average alternative available to such students. A binding score regression discontinuity design comparing students just above and below these thresholds yields two main findings. First, students are remarkably willing to forego college quality for relatively small amounts of money. Second, choosing a lower quality college significantly lowers on-time completion rates, a result driven by highskilled students who would otherwise have attended higher quality colleges. For the marginal student, enrolling at an in-state public college lowered the probability of graduating on time by more than 40%. The low completion rates of scholarship users imply the program had little impact on the in-state production of college degrees. More broadly, these results suggest that the critically important task of improving college quality requires steps beyond merely changing the composition of the student body.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=836
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify ()


Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp12-033.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-033
Contact details of provider: Postal: 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Fax: 617-496-2554
Web page: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/index.htm

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Conlon, Gavan, 2003. "Does It Pay to Attend a Prestigious University?," IZA Discussion Papers 848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Working Papers 788, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
  4. Lockwood Reynolds, C., 2012. "Where to attend? Estimating the effects of beginning college at a two-year institution," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 345-362.
  5. Long, Mark C., 2008. "College quality and early adult outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 588-602, October.
  6. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stacy Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2011. "Estimating the Return to College Selectivity over the Career Using Administrative Earnings Data," NBER Working Papers 17159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Democratization or Diversion? The Effect of Community Colleges on Educational Attainment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 217-24, April.
  9. Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2011. "Why Is an Elite Undergraduate Education Valuable? Evidence from Israel," NBER Working Papers 16730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  11. Calcagno, Juan Carlos & Bailey, Thomas & Jenkins, Davis & Kienzl, Gregory & Leinbach, Timothy, 2008. "Community college student success: What institutional characteristics make a difference?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 632-645, December.
  12. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
  13. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  14. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
  15. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2006. "Cohort Crowding: How Resources Affect Collegiate Attainment," NBER Working Papers 12424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Sandy, Jonathan & Gonzalez, Arturo & Hilmer, Michael J., 2006. "Alternative paths to college completion: Effect of attending a 2-year school on the probability of completing a 4-year degree," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 463-471, October.
  17. Papay, John P. & Willett, John B. & Murnane, Richard J., 2011. "Extending the regression-discontinuity approach to multiple assignment variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 203-207, April.
  18. Leigh, D. E. & Gill, A. M., 2003. "Do community colleges really divert students from earning bachelor's degrees?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 23-30, February.
  19. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  20. Martha J. Bailey & Susan M. Dynarski, 2011. "Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion," NBER Working Papers 17633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. repec:mpr:mprres:6922 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-033. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.