The Promise of Place-Based Investment in College Access and Success: Investigating the Impact of the Pittsburgh Promise

55 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017

See all articles by Lindsay C. Page

Lindsay C. Page

University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Jennifer Iriti

University of Pittsburgh

Danielle Lowry

University of Pittsburgh

Aaron Anthony

University of Pittsburgh

Date Written: November 15, 2017

Abstract

Place-based promise scholarships are a relatively recent innovation in the space of college access and success. Although evidence on the impact of some of the earliest place-based scholarships has begun to emerge, the rapid proliferation of promise programs largely has preceded empirical evidence of their impact. We utilize regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences analyses to investigate the causal effect of the Pittsburgh Promise on students’ immediate postsecondary attainment and early college persistence outcomes. Both analytic approaches yield similar conclusions. As a result of Promise eligibility, Pittsburgh Public School graduates are approximately 5 percentage points more likely to enroll in college, particularly four-year institutions; 10 percentage points more likely to select a Pennsylvania institution; and 4 to 7 percentage points more likely to enroll and persist into a second year of postsecondary education. Impacts vary with changes over time in the program structure and opportunities and are larger for those responsive to the Promise opportunity, as instrumental variable-adjusted results reveal. Although the Pittsburgh Promise represents a sizeable investment, conservative cost-benefit calculations indicate positive returns. Even with positive economic returns, an important question is whether locally funded programs such as the Pittsburgh Promise are economically sustainable in the long run.

Keywords: Pittsburgh Promise, place-based scholarship, college access and persistence, quasi-experimental design

JEL Classification: I20, I21, I22, I23, I24, I25

Suggested Citation

Page, Lindsay C. and Iriti, Jennifer and Lowry, Danielle and Anthony, Aaron, The Promise of Place-Based Investment in College Access and Success: Investigating the Impact of the Pittsburgh Promise (November 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3071727 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3071727

Lindsay C. Page (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh School of Education ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7166 (Phone)

Jennifer Iriti

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
4126247092 (Phone)

Danielle Lowry

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Aaron Anthony

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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