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BPEA Article

Policies and payoffs to addressing America’s college graduation deficit

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Editor's Note:

This paper is part of the Fall 2019 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, the leading conference series and journal in economics for timely, cutting-edge research about real-world policy issues. Research findings are presented in a clear and accessible style to maximize their impact on economic understanding and policymaking. The editors are Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and Northwestern University Professor of Economics Janice Eberly and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and Harvard University Professor of Economics James Stock. Read summaries of all six papers from the journal here.

SUMMARY

Christopher Avery, Jessica Howell, Matea Pender, and Bruce Sacerdote, analyze state policies to increase four-year college completion rates, concluding that increased spending at all public colleges and targeted elimination of tuition and fees at four-year public colleges for income-eligible students are the most cost-effective options, while free community college is the least effective—finding it actually reduces four-year degree completion rates and provides the least benefit to low-income students.

CITATION

Avery, Christopher, Jessica Howell, Matea Pender, and Bruce Sacerdote. 2019. “Policies and payoffs to addressing America’s college graduation deficit” BPEA Conference Draft, Fall.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE

Christopher Avery is the Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Jessica Howell is the Vice President of Research at the College Board; Matea Pender is a policy research scientist at the College Board; and Bruce Sacerdote is the Richard S. Braddock 1963 Professor in Economics at Dartmouth College. Beyond these affiliations, the author did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this paper or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this paper. They are currently not an officer, director, or board member of any organization with an interest in this paper. Beyond the College Board, no outside party had the right to review this paper before circulation. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the College Board or any other aforementioned institutions affiliated with the authors.

Authors

Christopher Avery

Harvard Kennedy School - Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy

Bruce Sacerdote

Richard S. Braddock 1963 Professor in Economics - Dartmouth College

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