Postsecondary Education

What is the Economic Value of Community College Degrees and Certificates?

Analyzing seven years of post-graduation data from more than 20,000 students who attended Washington state's community and technical colleges, researchers found that community college credentials that take more than a year to complete lead to substantial wage increases and greater likelihoods of employment in most fields. This raises concern about the facts that in the last decade state funding towards community college education has faced a downward trend, and that during the same time period short-term certificates have ballooned as a share of community college credentials in most states.

Is Online Learning The Silver Bullet for Men of Color? An Institutional-Level Analysis of the California Community College System

A recent study of California community colleges investigates whether there were differences in male students’ academic success and course retention by racial/ethnic affiliation.

Missed signals: The effect of ACT college-readiness measures on post-secondary decisions

In the face of shrinking government budgets and a growing need to train a high-skilled labor force, policymakers have become increasingly interested in cost-effective measures that induce more students to pursue post-secondary education. New research examines whether a low cost intervention, where information about a student's own academic ability is provided, influences their decision about whether and where to attend college.

Gap Years and College Internships: Good or Bad Ideas?

Voluntary gaps in college tenure, be they for professional reasons or otherwise, are common occurrences in the United States. Existing studies of voluntary academic leave (taking a “gap year” or “gap semester”) have focused on causes, while studies of collegiate internships have focused on labor market effects. We estimate the impacts of these two occurrences on returning academic and other collegiate outcomes.

Are Students Affected by Colleges’ Small Application Barriers?

Colleges frequently change their application fees and application essay requirements, and it turns out that students strongly respond to these relatively small costs in the application process. Our new paper, “Screening Mechanisms and Student Responses in the College Market,” we find that requiring a college application essay decreases the number of applications received at that college by 6.5%. We also find that increasing the application fee by 10% corresponds to roughly a 1% decrease in applications.

The Bridge and the Troll Underneath: Summer Bridge Programs and Degree Completion

Recent research finds that at community colleges and less-selective four-year colleges, students who attend summer bridge programs are, on average, ten percentage points more likely to finish degrees within six years, with larger effect sizes for black and Hispanic students (compared to whites, Asians, and others), first-generation college students, and students with lower GPAs in high school.


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