Education Finance and Policy

The Impact of Schooling Intensity on Student Learning

Duration and intensity of schooling often come up in discussions about educational effectiveness and in education policy debates. Schooling duration, or years of schooling, has previously been linked to greater learning outcomes. Whereas, schooling intensity, or the amount of content covered in a year, is less well understood. Given too much content, students will be overwhelmed, but too little content will result in students being bored. Therefore, more research is needed to better understand how schooling intensity affects student learning.

Effects & Evaluations of Teachers with Graduate Degrees

Teachers are an integral part of our education system. Policymakers at the state and district levels have focused on ways to reward and retain effective teachers. The majority of states provide permanent salary increases for teachers who have earned a graduate degree. The average salary increase for graduate degrees costs approximately $174 per student. As such, from a policy perspective, it is important to understand (a) if teachers with a graduate degree are more effective than their peers with undergraduate degrees and (b) if teachers are more effective after earning a graduate degree.

Effects of Simplifying Financial Aid Offers

Amid growing concerns over college affordability and rising student loan debt, federal policymakers have focused on simplifying the college-going process and improving information for students as they consider their college options. In 2012, the US Department of Education and Obama administration released the shopping sheet (recently renamed the college financing plan), a standardized financial aid award letter that provides students with simplified information about college costs, loan options, and college outcomes. Over 3,000 postsecondary institutions now use the shopping sheet.

Effects Parental Credit Constraint on Children’s College Access and Enrollment

With rapidly increasing costs of college, many students and families struggle to pay for postsecondary education. In fact, nearly 70% of students take out student loans through federal financial aid policies to help finance their education. However, even with federal financial aid options, many students still are unable to fully finance their postsecondary education. Therefore, parents often help supplement loans available to their children through cosigning on a loan, borrowing against their home equity, or via debt/loans taken out in their own names.

Returns to Education at Community Colleges

With costs of higher education skyrocketing, relatively low-cost community colleges play a critical role in policy debates regarding college access. Previous research on community colleges has focused on outcomes for those enrolled in post-secondary education in the 1980s and 1990s. The most recent research on the topic has primarily relied on administrative data - which is limited in terms of examining outcomes for those without previous work experience, and does not allow for comparison to a control group of adults who did not attend college.

Historical Analysis of Student Loan Repayments

While significant research has been devoted to student loan borrowing and default, considerably less attention has been paid to other repayment outcomes. Yet, federal student loan policy has seen two recent shifts toward 1) measurement of student loan outcomes using repayment rates versus default rates and 2) increased use of Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans that tie repayment to borrowers’ incomes.

A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International in vol. 14, issue 4 of EFP examines these trends.

The Promise of Place-based Investment in College Access

Place-based promise scholarships are a relatively recent innovation aimed at expanding college access, while promoting regional economic development through scholarships awarded to students in distinct geographic areas. Following the launch of a place-based scholarship in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2005, over 100 communities have implemented similar promise programs. Despite the rapid growth in these scholarship programs, research regarding the effects of the programs has not kept up. A new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in vol. 14, issue 4, helps to bridge this gap.

Just Accepted

  • The impact of schooling intensity on student learning: Evidence from a quasi-experiment. Vincenzo Andrietti and Xuejuan Su
  • Supplement or Supplant? Estimating the Impact of State Lottery Earmarks on Higher Education Funding. Elizabeth Bell, Wesley Wehde, and Madeleine Stucky
  • Can Simplifying Financial Aid Offers Impact College Enrollment and Borrowing? Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence. Kelly Ochs Rosinger

Early Access

  • Validating Teacher Effects on Students’ Attitudes and Behaviors: Evidence from Random Assignment of Teachers to Students. David Blazar
  • I Want You! Expanding College Access through Targeted Recruiting Efforts. Brian J. Miller and William L. Skimmyhorn
  • The Impact of State Aid Reform on Property Values: A Case Study of Maryland's Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act. Il Hwan Chung, William Duncombe, and John Yinger
  • The Effects of Subgroup-Specific Accountability on Teacher Turnover and Attrition. Matthew Shirrell