The Full Extent of Academic Under-Match
Posted: 23 Jul 2013
Date Written: February 1, 2013
This paper quantifies the extent of student-college “academic under-match,” which occurs when a student's academic credentials permit them access to a college or university that is more selective than the post-secondary alternative they actually choose. Using a nationally representative data-set, we find that 41 percent of students under-match in their post-secondary choice. We also find that academic under-match affects students with a range of academic credentials, but is more common among those students from low socioeconomic status families, who live in rural areas, and whose parents have no college degree. Finally, we show that between the 1992 and 2004 high school senior cohorts, academic under-match has decreased by nearly 20 percent. The decrease is partially due to students being more likely to apply to a matched college.
Keywords: educational economics, college choice, post-secondary education, mismatch, under-match
JEL Classification: I2, I23, I24
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