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Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities

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  • Rodney J. Andrews
  • Scott A. Imberman
  • Michael F. Lovenheim

Abstract

We study two interventions in Texas that were designed to overcome multiple hurdles faced by low-income, high-ability college students. The Longhorn Opportunity Scholars (LOS) and Century Scholars (CS) programs recruited at specified low-income high schools, provided additional financial aid, and enhanced support services once enrolled in college if students attended University of Texas - Austin or Texas A&M - College Station, respectively. These flagship institutions are widely regarded as the top public universities in Texas. Using administrative data that links K-12, postsecondary, and earnings records for Texas public college students, we find via difference-in-differences estimates that the LOS program had a large, positive effect on high-achievers: attendance at UT-Austin increased by 2.2 percentage points (81%), and the likelihood of graduating from UT-Austin increased by 1.7 percentage points (87%). Twelve or more years post-high school, earnings of those exposed to LOS rose by 4.0%. These results entirely come from women, who saw enrollment at UT-Austin increase by 4.0 percentage points, graduation from UT-Austin increase by 2.6 percentage points and earnings increase by 6.1%. We find no evidence that the CS program affected any postsecondary or labor market outcomes. These results indicate that targeted recruitment combined with adequate supports and financial aid can substantially increase enrollment of low-income students in higher quality colleges and improve labor market outcomes. However, the differences in the LOS and CS program effects highlight the importance of understanding how to design these programs to maximize their impact on students.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities," NBER Working Papers 22260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22260
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    1. Andrews, Rodney J. & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2020. "Recruiting and supporting low-income, high-achieving students at flagship universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    2. Sandra E. Black & Jeffrey T. Denning & Jesse Rothstein, 2020. "Winners and Losers? The Effect of Gaining and Losing Access to Selective Colleges on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 26821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner & Danny Yagan, 2017. "Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 23618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cortes, Kalena E. & Klasik, Daniel, 2020. "Uniform Admissions, Unequal Access: Did the Top 10% Plan Increase Access to Selective Flagship Institutions?," IZA Discussion Papers 13988, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Ellis, Jimmy R. & Gershenson, Seth, 2020. "Gender, peer advising, and college success," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    6. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott Imberman & Michael Lovenheim, 2017. "Risky Business? The Effect of Majoring in Business on Earnings and Educational Attainment," Working Papers 2017-060, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. Sandra E. Black & Kalena E. Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove, 2020. "Apply Yourself: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(2), pages 209-240, Spring.
    8. Rodney J. Andrews & Kevin M. Stange, 2019. "Price Regulation, Price Discrimination, and Equality of Opportunity in Higher Education: Evidence from Texas," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 31-65, November.
    9. Philip Oreopoulos & Richard W. Patterson & Uros Petronijevic & Nolan G. Pope, 2018. "When Studying and Nudging Don’t Go as Planned: Unsuccessful Attempts to Help Traditional and Online College Students," NBER Working Papers 25036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Brian J. Miller & William L. Skimmyhorn, 2018. "I Want You! Expanding College Access through Targeted Recruiting Efforts," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 13(3), pages 395-418, Summer.
    11. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner & Danny Yagan, 2020. "The Determinants of Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility: Using Test Scores to Measure Undermatching," NBER Working Papers 26748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Pugatch, Todd & Thompson, Paul, 2022. "Excellence for all? University honors programs and human capital formation," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1112, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    13. Susan Dynarski & C.J. Libassi & Katherine Michelmore & Stephanie Owen, 2018. "Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on College Choices of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 25349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Klasik, Daniel & Cortes, Kalena E., 2022. "Uniform admissions, unequal access: Did the top 10% plan increase access to selective flagship institutions?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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