Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Place-Based Tuition Scholarships and Property Values: Education Policy As Community Development Tool?

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Judson E. Murchie, Robert Bifulco and Ross Rubenstein, Syracuse University
A recent trend in place-based policy targets college attainment by offering tuition scholarships for qualified students in under-resourced public schools. In an era of rising college costs, these programs represent a potentially large financial benefit to those living within the attendance zones of qualifying schools. Being directly linked to attendance zones, the benefit of such programs should be capitalized into local property values.

This research thus examines the impact a large scholarship program, Say Yes to Education, has on property values in upstate New York. As “Say Yes” cities, students graduating from either the Buffalo or Syracuse city school districts who gain acceptance into one of more than one hundred 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities can receive up to 100% of tuition costs covered. Though the size of the benefit is tiered according to the number of years a student spends in the district, the primary qualification is that they live in the district and attend public school.

To estimate the effect of Say Yes on property values, the research employs a variety of difference-in-difference specifications to exploit variation in treatment across time and location. Data used include detailed property characteristics for property sales in New York State, pre and post program adoption. Preliminary findings suggest Say Yes is associated with a positive and significant increase in property values in each city adopting the program.