Administrative Burden and College Access: Disentangling Postsecondary Application Behavior at Public Institutions
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This study’s research question is: to what extent do publicly-provided services (in the form of high school counselors as front-line workers) and a state-level program (known as "Navigation 101") ease administrative burden on potential resident college applicants and thereby increase residents' application submission rates at public universities? I find that both front-line workers and the program itself have varying effects on easing administrative burden across demographics and the type of public institution to which individuals submit applications. Higher levels of high school counselor FTEs, for example, are positively associated with an increased odds of poor students and nonwhite students submitting applications to a state's comprehensive universities. On the other hand, neither the programmatic intervention nor counselor FTE by itself increases application odds but the interaction between the two is positively associated with an increased odds of submitting an application at particular types of public universities. Through the lens of administrative burden these findings suggest that front-line workers and public programs may shape the take-up of public programs and policies in promising ways that deserve more attention from both scholars interested in how administrative burden shapes take-up and education researchers focused on improving college application rates.