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'No Excuses' Charter Schools and College Enrollment: New Evidence from a High School Network in Chicago

40 Pages Posted: 15 May 2015 Last revised: 5 Aug 2017

Matthew Davis

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Blake Heller

Harvard University

Date Written: September 1, 2015

Abstract

While it is well-known that certain charter schools dramatically increase students’ standardized test scores, there is considerably less evidence that these human capital gains persist into adulthood. To address this matter, we match three years of lottery data from a high-performing charter high school to administrative college enrollment records and estimate the effect of winning an admissions lottery on college matriculation, quality, and persistence. Seven to nine years after the lottery, we find that lottery winners are 10.0 percentage points more likely to attend college and 9.5 percentage points more likely to enroll for at least four semesters. Unlike previous studies, our estimates are powerful enough to uncover improvements on the extensive margin of college attendance (enrolling in any college), the intensive margin (persistence of attendance), and the quality margin (enrollment at selective, four-year institutions). We conclude by providing non-experimental evidence that more recent cohorts at other campuses in the network increased enrollment at a similar rate.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Matthew and Heller, Blake, 'No Excuses' Charter Schools and College Enrollment: New Evidence from a High School Network in Chicago (September 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2606059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2606059

Matthew Davis (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Blake Heller

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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