Student Responsiveness to Earnings Data in the College Scorecard

24 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2018

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2018


Using the universe of SAT score sends to colleges and the exact date on which these scores are sent, we estimate how students responded to the release of the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard in September 2015. We find that data on annual cost and graduation rate, both of which were previously available, did not impact the volume of score sends received by colleges. By contrast, we estimate that each 10% increase in reported earnings resulted in a 2.4% increase in score sends. The impact is driven almost entirely by well‐resourced high schools and students. We find little evidence that the count or composition of enrolled students changed as a result of the Scorecard information shock with the exception of a slight increase in academic preparedness, as measured by SAT scores, among enrollees at colleges with higher reported earnings.

JEL Classification: I2, I23, I26, I28, L15

Suggested Citation

Hurwitz, Michael and Smith, Jonathan, Student Responsiveness to Earnings Data in the College Scorecard (April 2018). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 1220-1243, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Michael Hurwitz (Contact Author)

College Board ( email )

1919 M Street NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Jonathan Smith

Georgia State University ( email )

United States

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