NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2016Keeping College Options Open: A Field Experiment to Help All High School Seniors Through the College Application Process
with Philip Oreopoulos: w22320
Recent research suggests that the college application process itself prevents access. This paper reports results from a large school-based experiment in which application assistance is incorporated into the high school curriculum for all graduating seniors at low-transition schools. Over three workshops, students were guided to pick programs of interest that they were eligible for, apply for real, and complete the financial aid application. The goal was to create a college option for exiting students to make the transition easier and more salient. On average, the program increased application rates from 64 to 78 per cent. College enrolment increased the following school year by 5.2 percentage points with virtually all of this increase in two-year community college programs. The greatest ...
 
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