What High-Achieving Low-Income Students Know About College

Caroline Hoxby, Sarah Turner

NBER Working Paper No. 20861
Issued in January 2015, Revised in January 2015
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Labor Studies, Public Economics

Previous work (Hoxby and Avery 2014) shows that low-income higher achievers tend not to apply to selective colleges despite being extremely likely to be admitted with financial aid so generous that they would pay less than they do to attend the non-selective schools they usually attend. The Expanding College Opportunities project is a randomized controlled trial that provides such students with individualized information about the college application process and colleges' net prices. In other work (Hoxby and Turner 2013), we show that the informational intervention substantially raises students' probability of applying to, being admitted at, enrolling at, and progressing at selective colleges. In this study, we show that the intervention actually changes students' informedness on key topics such as the cost of college, the availability of the curricula and peers they seek, and the different types of colleges available to them. We highlight topics on which the control students, who experienced no intervention, are seriously misinformed.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20861

Published: Caroline M. Hoxby & Sarah Turner, 2015. "What High-Achieving Low-Income Students Know about College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 514-17, May. citation courtesy of

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