Should the Federal Government Fund Short-Term Postsecondary Certificate Programs?

56 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Sandy Baum

Sandy Baum

The Urban Institute

Harry J. Holzer

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Grace Luetmer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

We consider whether the US should extend Pell grant eligibility to short-term certificate programs (i.e., below the current floor of 600 hours). We provide new descriptive evidence on who enrolls in certificate programs, who completes them, how students finance them, who defaults on loans, and on their labor market value. We find that certificate holders earn about 10 percent more than high school graduates and 20 percent more than those with GEDs. The variance in their labor market value across fields is very high. But we find no evidence that certificates above and below the current cutoff generate differing labor market value. Thus, reducing the floor for program eligibility would improve the opportunity of low-income workers to receive effective job training.

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Baum, Sandy and Holzer, Harry J. and Luetmer, Grace, Should the Federal Government Fund Short-Term Postsecondary Certificate Programs?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14109, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3789376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3789376

Sandy Baum (Contact Author)

The Urban Institute ( email )

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United States
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Harry J. Holzer

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI) ( email )

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Washington, DC 20057
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

Grace Luetmer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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