Do College-Prep Programs Improve Long-Term Outcomes?
This paper presents an analysis of the longer-run effects of a college-preparatory program implemented in inner-city schools that provided teacher training in addition to payments to eleventh- and twelfth- grade students and their teachers for passing scores on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Affected students passed more AP exams, were more likely to remain in college beyond their first and second years, and earned higher wages. Effects are particularly pronounced for Hispanic students who experienced a 2.5-percentage-point increase in college degree attainment and an 11-percent increase in earnings. While the study is based on non-experimental variation, the results are robust across a variety of specifications, and most plausible sources of bias are ruled out. The results provide credible evidence that implementing high-quality college-preparatory programs in existing urban schools can improve the long-run educational and labor market outcomes of disadvantaged youth.
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This paper was revised on September 28, 2012