“Making the Leap: Timing Analysis of Transfers from Two Year Colleges to Four Year Colleges”
With one-third of overall post-secondary students attending two-year colleges, students’ transferring to four-year colleges at an efficient rate is an important factor in increasing the number of graduates in four-year colleges. This study is the first analysis of how personal, family, economic and institution characteristics affect students’ time to transfer. This is an important issue as taking longer to transfer is accompanied with high opportunity costs via lost earnings through delayed labor-market entry (Nutting, 2004). Benefitting from a large, recent administrative dataset (2000-2008), compared to previous studies using survey dataset from the 1960s - 1990s, the estimates confirm results hypothesized by the option value theory. Results show that students take into consideration the high opportunity costs in determining whether to transfer earlier to a four-year college as explained by the positive correlation between current earnings and time to transfer. Women transfer earlier than men. As expected, more able students transfer early but students who acquire remedial credits take longer to transfer.
“An Exploratory Analysis of the Relationship between Student Earnings and Postsecondary Retention”, (with Christopher Jepsen)
Policy makers are becoming increasingly concerned about the high percentage of students who attend postsecondary education without completing a degree. Researchers have studied numerous potential determinants of retention behavior for postsecondary students, such as financial aid, socioeconomic status, academic preparedness, academic and social integration, and expected future wages. However, none of these studies consider students’ earnings while in school as a potential determinant of retention. Using an administrative data from postsecondary institutions matched with administrative earnings data from the state’s unemployment insurance department, our results indicate that student earnings are negatively correlated with student retention in Kentucky postsecondary institutions. This result is consistent even after controlling for student intentions. Scholarships and loans promote persistence whereas grants have no effect. Ability as measured by first-semester GPA positively affects retention, but acquiring remedial credits adversely affects retention.