Strengthening Postsecondary Pathways: Student, State, and Institution-Level Factors
Friday, November 13, 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Tequesta (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis
Panel Chairs: Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis
Discussants: Mark Long, University of Washington and Jessica Howell, The College Board
Despite the pressing need to ensure that more students obtain a postsecondary degree, we know surprisingly little about how institutional policies and practices lead to college success. Prior research has focused primarily on individual determinants of postsecondary outcomes. This panel will contribute new knowledge about policies and practices at the state, institutional and student level that focus on postsecondary participation and degree attainment across a diverse set of institutions and the students they serve. The papers are united in their effort to employ unique administrative data to assess the causal impact of important institutional, individual, and state level policies and practices.
The first paper, The Promises and Pitfalls of Measuring Community College Quality, examines differences in key student outcomes (credit accumulation, degree attainment, and transfer) across California’s community colleges. The paper relies on an administrative dataset from the nation’s largest public community college system linked to state K-12 student records. Authors explore whether there are significant differences in student outcomes across community college campuses after adjusting for observed student differences and potential unobserved determinates that drive selection. Identifying college quality has been a key element of the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase accountability in higher education. As such the paper also explores whether college rankings based on unadjusted mean differences across community college campuses provide meaningful information.
The second and third papers look closely at state and local policies in Texas that may influence the supply and demand for public higher education. Specifically, the second paper: The Supply-Side Effects of Price Regulation in Higher Education: Evidence from Tuition Deregulation in Texas, will explore supply changes as a result of a policy change in tuition deregulation in Texas. The paper will discuss how institutions generate and reallocate resources in response to greater price-setting autonomy. Institutional price-setting autonomy may have important consequences for institutions and the students they serve. The third paper, Do Public Subsidies Promote College Access and Completion? Evidence from Community College Taxing Districts, investigates the impact of tuition subsidies through local property taxes on college enrollment and attainment. The paper expands prior analyses on public subsidies to disentangle the impact of tuition differences and changes in college supply associated with taxing district expansions.
Finally, a fourth paper, How College Credit in High School Changes College Students’ Course of Study, examines connections between high school AP test success and college course enrollment type, particularly in STEM fields. The role of college credit accumulation in high school and its impact on college outcomes has rarely been explored (largely as a result of data constraints). In this paper, authors will merge multiple administrative data sources (from Florida’s postsecondary transcript files, National Student Clearinghouse, and the College Board), to investigate course and credit progression from high school to college.
Combined, these papers cover several critical and timely topics in higher education. In light of the growing evidence on low rates of college degree attainment and increased time to degree, there is great need to better understand the impact of policies at multiple levels.