The Affordable Care Act and College Enrollment Decisions

30 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2018

See all articles by Juergen Jung

Juergen Jung

Towson University - Department of Economics

Vinish Shrestha

Emory University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2018


We investigate the effect of the expansion of the federal dependent coverage mandate for young adults under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on college enrollment decisions of young Americans. The expansion removes the requirement that young individuals need to be enrolled as full‐time students in order to remain on their parents' health insurance past the age of 18 and expands the coverage mandate to age 26 irrespective of student status. This changes the incentives for the full‐time college enrollment decisions of young individuals. We use panel data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) for the years 2003–2013 and estimate that the dependent coverage expansion under the ACA decreases the probability to enroll as full‐time student by 3 percentage points using a difference‐in‐differences framework. Furthermore, we find that part‐time college enrollment is unaffected by the new policy. The results are robust to changes in the model specification and become stronger when we increase the sample overlap between treatment and control groups using trimming based on propensity scores.

JEL Classification: C35, I23, I10, I18

Suggested Citation

Jung, Juergen and Shrestha, Vinish, The Affordable Care Act and College Enrollment Decisions (October 2018). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 56, Issue 4, pp. 1980-2009, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Juergen Jung (Contact Author)

Towson University - Department of Economics ( email )

Baltimore, MD
United States
812-345-9182 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Vinish Shrestha

Emory University ( email )

1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-502-7510 (Phone)

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