Screening Mechanisms and Student Responses in the College Market
37 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2016
Date Written: October 2014
In light of the sizeable financial and time investments associated with obtaining a postsecondary degree, the choice of where to apply and enroll should be a deliberate and thoughtful process. In this paper we exploit changes in application fees and admissions essay requirements, to demonstrate that students strongly respond to small costs in the college application process. Using a new method to identify major competitors of each college, we find that these small screening mechanisms negatively impact application volume and divert student applications to colleges to which they otherwise would not have applied. There is limited evidence that measures of enrollment and retention are affected.
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