An Evaluation of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship&Apos;S Effect on Phd Production at Non-Uncf Institutions

26 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015 Last revised: 13 Aug 2021

See all articles by Sarah Prenovitz

Sarah Prenovitz

Cornell University - Cornell Higher Education Research Institute

Gary Cohen

Cornell University - Cornell Higher Education Research Institute

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

ILR-Cornell University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

George H. Jakubson

ILR-Cornell University

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) was established in 1988 to encourage underrepresented minority (URM) students to pursue PhD study with an eye towards entering academia. Fellows have completed PhDs at high rates relative to other students, but they are selected for their interest and potential, so this reflects both the effects of the program and the abilities of the students themselves. In order to understand one impact of the program we investigate its causal effect - how many of its fellows earned PhDs who would not have done so without the MMUF’s support. In this paper we use restricted access administrative data from the Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates to investigate the effect of the MMUF on PhD completions by underrepresented minority students who graduate from participating institutions. We find no evidence that participation in the program causes a statistically significant increase in the PhD production rate of URM students and increases in larger than 0.4 percentage points lie outside a 95% confidence interval using our unweighted baseline estimates. We also do not find evidence that increasing the intensity of the program by adding more fellows increases the PhD production rate, which is particularly notable as this estimate is upward-biased: the number of fellows likely reflects the strength of the candidate pool in a given year.

Suggested Citation

Prenovitz, Sarah and Cohen, Gary and Ehrenberg, Ronald G. and Jakubson, George H., An Evaluation of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship&Apos;S Effect on Phd Production at Non-Uncf Institutions (August 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21451, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2645527

Sarah Prenovitz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Cornell Higher Education Research Institute ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States

Gary Cohen

Cornell University - Cornell Higher Education Research Institute ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

ILR-Cornell University ( email )

Higher Education Research Institute
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-255-3026 (Phone)
607-255-4496 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

George H. Jakubson

ILR-Cornell University ( email )

Higher Education Research Institute
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
9
Abstract Views
444
PlumX Metrics