Theses Doctoral

Are early commitment programs the answer to gaps in college enrollment and outcomes by income? The case of Oklahoma's Promise

Bucceri, Kristen

This dissertation defines early commitment scholarship programs and their theoretical impact on college enrollment and outcomes in general. In addition, it analyzes the effects of one state-wide early commitment program for low-income students, Oklahoma's Promise. The impact of the expansion of Oklahoma's Promise on college enrollment rates and college level educational outcomes will be reviewed. When compared with all US states, many of which were also implementing programs to increase college enrollment, Oklahoma's Promise was not found to have any significant effect. However using the preferred control group, results show the program increased college enrollment among low-income youth by 4.4 percentage points when compared to states with no scholarship program. In regards to college level educational outcomes, Oklahoma's Promise increased the probability of earning a college degree in five years or less, in not dropping out of college, and of earning a two-year college degree compared with students that signed the pledge and enrolled in college without the scholarship. The program was also found to have increased the state-wide, low-income, Associate's degree attainment rate by 4.5 percentage points. A benefit-cost analysis of the program shows that the net present value of the benefits to the taxpayer of the program for just the 2003 cohort was at least $88 million. Over the life of the program, the benefits are expected to be much more. The benefits of enrolling in college through the program far exceeded the costs to the students, regardless of whether or not they ultimately earned a degree.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Scott-Clayton, Judith
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 18, 2013