NBER Working Papers and Publications by Steven W. Hemelt

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

May 2016Multifaceted Aid for Low-Income Students and College Outcomes: Evidence from North Carolina
with Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd: w22217
Launched in 2004, the Carolina Covenant combines grant-heavy financial aid with an array of non-financial supports for low-income students at an elite public university. We find that the program increased four-year graduation rates by about 8 percentage points for eligible students in the cohorts who experienced the fully developed program. For these cohorts, we also find suggestive effects on persistence to the fourth year of college, cumulative earned credits, and academic performance. We conclude that aid programs targeting low-income, high-ability students are most successful when they couple grant aid with strong non-financial supports.
January 2016Raising the Bar for College Admission: North Carolina’s Increase in Minimum Math Course Requirements
with Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen Ladd: w21926
We explore the effects of a statewide policy change that increased the number of high school math courses required for admission to any of North Carolina’s 15 public four-year institutions. Using administrative data on cohorts of 8th grade students from 1999 to 2006, we document and exploit variation by district over time in the math course-taking environment encountered by students. Within an instrumental variables setup, we examine effects of the policy change on students grouped into deciles defined by their 8th grade math test scores. First, we find that students took more math courses in high school following the state’s announcement, with relatively larger increases in the middle and bottom deciles of students. Second, we conclude that increased math course-taking in high school led ...
December 2014Marginal Pricing and Student Investment in Higher Education
with Kevin M. Stange: w20779
This paper examines the effect of marginal price on students’ educational investments using rich administrative data on students at Michigan public universities. Students facing zero marginal price for credits above the full-time minimum (i.e., 12 credits) attempt and complete about the same average number of credits as those whose institutions charge per credit. Zero marginal price induces a modest share of students (i.e., 7 percent) to attempt up to one additional class (i.e., 3 credits) but also increases withdrawals, resulting in little impact on earned credits or the likelihood of meeting “on-time” benchmarks toward college completion. Consistent with theory, the moderate impact on attempted credits is largest among students who would otherwise locate at the full-time minimum, which i...

Published: Steven W. Hemelt & Kevin M. Stange, 2016. "Marginal Pricing and Student Investment in Higher Education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol 35(2), pages 441-471.

October 2013The Missing Manual: Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes
with Susan M. Dynarski, Joshua M. Hyman: w19552
This paper explores the promises and pitfalls of using National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data to measure a variety of postsecondary outcomes. We first describe the history of the NSC, the basic structure of its data, and recent research interest in using NSC data. Second, using information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we calculate enrollment coverage rates for NSC data over time, by state, institution type, and demographic student subgroups. We find that coverage is highest among public institutions and lowest (but growing) among for-profit colleges. Across students, enrollment coverage is lower for minorities but similar for males and females. We also explore two potentially less salient sources of non-coverage: suppressed student records due to priv...

Published: The Missing Manual Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes Susan M. Dynarski Steven W. Hemelt, Joshua M. Hyman EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION AND POLICY ANALYSIS May 2015 vol. 37

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