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How Much More Does a Disadvantaged Student Cost?

This paper provides a guide to statistically based methods for estimating the extra costs of educating disadvantaged students, shows how these methods are related, and compares state aid programs that account for these costs in different ways. We show how pupil weights, which are included in many state programs, can be estimated from an education cost equation, which many scholars use to obtain an education cost index, and we devise a method to estimate pupil weights directly. Using data from New York, we show that the distribution of state aid is similar with statistically based pupil weights and an educational cost index. Finally, we show that large, urban school districts with a high concentration of disadvantaged students would receive far more aid (and rich suburban districts would receive far less aid) if statistically based pupil weights were used instead of the ad hoc weights in existing state aid programs.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 60.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:60
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  1. William Duncombe & John Yinger, 1997. "Why is it so hard to help central city schools?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 85-113.
  2. William Duncombe, 2002. "Estimating the Cost of an Adequate Education in New York," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 44, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  3. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Anthony O. Gyapong, 1991. "Production of Education: Are Socioeconomic Characteristics Important Factors?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 507-521, Oct-Dec.
  4. Ladd, Helen F. & Yinger, John, 1994. "The Case for Equalizing Aid," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 211-24, March.
  5. Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 2000. "Financing higher student performance standards: the case of New York State," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 363-386, October.
  6. Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 1998. "School Finance Reform: Aid Formulas and Equity Objectives," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 239-62, June.
  7. Ratcliffe, Kerri & Riddle, Bruce & Yinger, John, 1990. "The fiscal condition of school districts in Nebraska: Is small beautiful?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 81-99, March.
  8. Andrew Reschovsky & Jennifer Imazeki, 2003. "Let No Child Be Left Behind: Determining the Cost of Improving Student Performance," Public Finance Review, , vol. 31(3), pages 263-290, May.
  9. Andrews, Matthew & Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 2002. "Revisiting economies of size in American education: are we any closer to a consensus?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 245-262, June.
  10. Downes, Thomas A. & Pogue, Thomas F., 1994. "Adjusting School Aid Formulas for the Higher Cost of Educating Disadvantaged Students," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 89-110, March.
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