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

Panel Paper: Keeping College Options Open: A Field Experiment to Help All High School Seniors through the College Application Process

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 2:25 PM
Merrick I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Philip Oreopoulos, University of Toronto and Reuben Ford, Society for Research in Child Development
Recent research suggests that the college application process itself prevents access.  This paper reports results from a large school-based experiment in which application assistance is incorporated into the high school curriculum for all graduating seniors at low-transition schools.  Over three workshops, students were guided to pick programs of interest that they could get into, apply for real, and complete the financial aid application.  The goal was to create a real college option for exiting students to make the transition easier and more salient.  The program increased application rates by 15 percentage points, on average, and college going rates by 5 percentage points (with most of the impact from increases in 2-year vocational college enrollment).  The program generated significant effects for a wide range of heterogeneous groups, including both males and females, those from urban and rural schools, and those with below and those above average grades.