Test-Optional Admissions and Student Debt

30 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2020 Last revised: 19 Oct 2022

See all articles by Alexia Hope Bevers

Alexia Hope Bevers

Western Carolina University

Sean E. Mulholland

Western Carolina University

Date Written: September 13, 2022


Moving to a test-optional admissions policy alters admissions, enrollment, and, potentially, pricing and financial aid offers by four-year colleges. With less academic information about applicants and test-optional market segmentation, those admitted under a test-optional policy may face higher prices and incur more debt. Using two-way fixed effects and the Callaway and Sant' Anna (2021) estimator with multiple time-period treatments, we find that private college graduates admitted under a test-optional policy borrow between $1,010 and $1,387 (2016$), or 4 to 5 percent, more than those required to submit their scores.

Keywords: Student Debt; Test-Optional Admissions; Four-Year Colleges, Standardized Tests, College Tuition, Market Power

JEL Classification: G51; I21, 22, I23, L13

Suggested Citation

Bevers, Alexia and Mulholland, Sean E., Test-Optional Admissions and Student Debt (September 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3640403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3640403

Alexia Bevers

Western Carolina University ( email )

Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States

Sean E. Mulholland (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.wcu.edu/semulholland/

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