College Enrollment and Completion Among Nationally Recognized High-Achieving Hispanic Students
53 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2016
Date Written: August 2016
Hispanic high school graduates have lower college completion rates than academically similar white students. As Hispanic students have been theorized to be more constrained in the college search and selection process, one potential policy lever is to increase the set of colleges to which these students apply and attend. In this paper, we investigate the impacts of the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP), which recognizes the highest scoring 11th grade Hispanic students on the PSAT/NMSQT, as a mechanism of improving college choice and completion. The program not only informs students about their relative ability, but it also enables colleges to identify, recruit and offer enrollment incentives. Overall, we find that the program has strong effects on college attendance patterns, shifting students from two-year to four-year institutions, as well as to colleges that are out-of-state and public flagships, all areas where Hispanic attendance has lagged. NHRP shifts the geographic distribution of where students earn their degree, and increases overall bachelor’s completion among Hispanic students who traditionally have had lower rates of success. These results demonstrate that college outreach can have significant impacts on the enrollment choices of Hispanic students and can serve as a policy lever for colleges looking to draw academically talented students.
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