Minding the Gap: Academic Outcomes from Pre-College Programs

42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021

See all articles by Phoebe Kotlikoff

Phoebe Kotlikoff

United States Department of the Navy

Ahmed Rahman

Lehigh University - Department of Economics

Katherine A. Smith

U.S. Naval Academy

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of assignment to a one-year college preparatory program on academic performance in college. To measure the value added from pre-college programs, we use a large dataset of United States Naval Academy students from the 1988 to 2018 graduating classes, of which a little over 22% received post-high school remediation. Given the Academy's unique admissions criteria that members of each incoming class originate from an even distribution of congressional districts, we instrument for pre-college treatment using the number and quality of other applicants originating from the same district. After incorporating these instruments as well as a wide range of outcome measures and background characteristics, we find that preparatory programs have positive but limited effects for human capital development for undergraduate students. Specifically, these pre-college programs promote significant but short-lived improvements in academic grades. They also can encourage students to choose STEM-oriented majors, and promote retention by lowering voluntary exits.

JEL Classification: I20, J24

Suggested Citation

Kotlikoff, Phoebe and Rahman, Ahmed and Smith, Katherine A., Minding the Gap: Academic Outcomes from Pre-College Programs. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775980 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3775980

Phoebe Kotlikoff

United States Department of the Navy

United States

Ahmed Rahman (Contact Author)

Lehigh University - Department of Economics ( email )

620 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Katherine A. Smith

U.S. Naval Academy ( email )

121 Blake Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5000
United States

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