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Heterogeneous paths through college: Detailed patterns and relationships with graduation and earnings

Rodney Andrews, Jing Li and Michael Lovenheim ()

Economics of Education Review, 2014, vol. 42, issue C, 93-108

Abstract: A considerable fraction of college students and bachelor's degree recipients enroll in multiple postsecondary institutions. Despite this fact, there is scant research that examines the nature of the paths – both the number and types of institutions – that students take to obtain a bachelor's degree or through the higher education system more generally. We also know little about how enrollment in multiple institutions of varying quality relates to postgraduate life outcomes. We use a unique panel data set from Texas that allows us to examine in detail the paths that students take toward a bachelor's degree and estimate how enrollment in multiple institutions is related to both degree completion and subsequent earnings. We show that the paths to a bachelor's degree are diverse and that earnings and BA receipt vary systematically with these paths. Our results call attention to the importance of developing a more complete understanding of why students transfer and what causal role transferring has on the returns to postsecondary educational investment.

Keywords: College transferring; Returns to college quality; Postsecondary education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I23 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.07.002

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