Julia E. Melkers
School of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
685 Cherry Street Atlanta, GA 30332
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 2016||Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education?|
with Joshua Goodman, Amanda Pallais: w22754
Though online technology has generated excitement about its potential to increase access to education, most research has focused on comparing student performance across online and in-person formats. We provide the first evidence that online education affects the number of people pursuing education. We study the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Online M.S. in Computer Science, the earliest model to combine the inexpensive nature of online education with a highly-ranked degree program. Regression discontinuity estimates exploiting an admissions threshold unknown to applicants show that access to this online option substantially increases overall enrollment in education, expanding the pool of students rather than substituting for existing educational options. Demand for the online option is ...