Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities

60 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016

See all articles by Rodney Andrews

Rodney Andrews

University of Texas at Dallas

Scott A. Imberman

Michigan State University; Michigan State University - College of Education

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

We study two interventions in Texas that were designed to overcome multiple hurdles faced by low-income, high-ability college students. The Longhorn Opportunity Scholars (LOS) and Century Scholars (CS) programs recruited at specified low-income high schools, provided additional financial aid, and enhanced support services once enrolled in college if students attended University of Texas - Austin or Texas A&M - College Station, respectively. These flagship institutions are widely regarded as the top public universities in Texas. Using administrative data that links K-12, postsecondary, and earnings records for Texas public college students, we find via difference-in-differences estimates that the LOS program had a large, positive effect on high-achievers: attendance at UT-Austin increased by 2.2 percentage points (81%), and the likelihood of graduating from UT-Austin increased by 1.7 percentage points (87%). Twelve or more years post-high school, earnings of those exposed to LOS rose by 4.0%. These results entirely come from women, who saw enrollment at UT-Austin increase by 4.0 percentage points, graduation from UT-Austin increase by 2.6 percentage points and earnings increase by 6.1%. We find no evidence that the CS program affected any postsecondary or labor market outcomes. These results indicate that targeted recruitment combined with adequate supports and financial aid can substantially increase enrollment of low-income students in higher quality colleges and improve labor market outcomes. However, the differences in the LOS and CS program effects highlight the importance of understanding how to design these programs to maximize their impact on students.

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Rodney and Imberman, Scott Andrew and Lovenheim, Michael, Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities (May 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22260. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783175

Rodney Andrews (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

Scott Andrew Imberman

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Michigan State University - College of Education ( email )

East Lansing, MI
United States

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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