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Blog Posts: Education

Blog Post Jan 9, 2015

Promoting Educational Advancement and Skill Development through Community Colleges

In previously released work, The Hamilton Project has emphasized that individuals who obtain college-level education have notably higher earnings than those with lower levels of education. Accordingly, The Hamilton Project has commissioned a series of papers in recent years describing opportunities to strengthen community college programs and vocational training, presented in this blog post as an overview.

Blog Post Sep 19, 2013

Delaware Seeks to Steer the Poor to Top Colleges

Yesterday, Delaware announced a new effort to steer low-income, high-achieving students to top schools, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt reports. Under the initiative, which is funded by the College Board, the state will send qualifying high school students a packet with information on selective schools, application fee waivers and other information. “In a recent experiment by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Sarah E. Turner of the University of Virginia, similar packets increased the number of students who applied to top colleges,” Leonhardt writes. In a recent Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Informing Students about Their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project,” Hoxby and Turner build on previous research showing that most high-achieving, low-income students do not even apply to selective colleges and outline how a relatively low-cost informational intervention could impact students’ college application behavior. To read the full proposal, click here.

Blog Post Sep 9, 2013

The Great Stagnation of American Education

This weekend in The New York Times, Robert J. Gordon discussed the decline in education attainment and its potential economic effects. In his piece, he highlighted research that shows low-income students “often don’t apply to elite colleges and wind up at subpar ones, deeply in debt” by Caroline Hoxby. In a recent Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Informing Students about Their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project,” Hoxby and Sarah Turner outline a strategy for improving college outcomes for high-achieving, low-income students. Building on previous research showing that most high-achieving, low-income students do not even apply to selective colleges, Hoxby and Turner propose expanding a recently piloted informational intervention called the Expanding College Opportunities (ECO) Project. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Aug 29, 2013

An Ivy League Education Can Be Surprisingly Cheap

This week in Business Insider, Mandi Woodruff discusses the difference between the sticker price of college and the net cost. She highlights findings from a recent Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Informing Students about Their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project,” in which Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner present a strategy for improving college outcomes for high-achieving, low-income students.  Building on previous research showing that most high-achieving, low-income students do not even apply to selective colleges, Hoxby and Turner propose expanding a recently piloted informational intervention called the Expanding College Opportunities (ECO) Project. Woodruff notes that the paper found “that cultural or familial factors are not a primary driver of students’ behavior,” and instead that information is the key barrier to many low-income high achieving students applying to selective schools.

Blog Post Aug 22, 2013

College Costs: Rising, Yet Often Exaggerated

In a recent New York Times“Economix” story on a new report that found incomes are down since the recovery began, Catherine Rampell discusses findings from a Hamilton Project employment analysis. In “The Long-term Effects of the Great Recession for America’s Youth,” the Project examined how the Great Recession has impacted different age groups. Rampell highlights findings from the new report on how young people and those nearing retirement have been hit harder than other age groups, and cites findings from the Project’s analysis that indicate the average person who graduated around 2010 would be expected to experience an earnings loss of about $70,000 over the following decade.

Blog Post Aug 21, 2013

A smarter way to start high schoolers’ days

A recent Washington Post editorial discussed research on the benefits of pushing back start times for high school students. In a Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments,” Brian A. Jacob and Jonah E. Rockoff propose three organizational reforms to increase student learning, including moving to later start times for middle and high school students. Jacob and Rockoff note that changes in circadian rhythm during adolescence are linked to reductions in student performance, stemming from increased absences and fatigue.

Blog Post Aug 20, 2013

More students than ever rely on federal college aid

Today in Politico, Libby Nelson reports on a new Department of Education report that finds the majority of undergraduates receive some form of federal financial aid and a large percentage of students are taking out loans. In a recent employment analysis, “Rising Student Debt Burdens: Factors Behind the Phenomenon,” The Hamilton Project examines possible explanations for the recent increases in student debt and default rates, including that the Great Recession may have left families with fewer resources, and the increase in enrollment in for-profit colleges.

Blog Post Aug 12, 2013

Starting college? Here’s how to graduate with a job.

In this week’s Washington Post Magazine cover story on finding a job after college, Jim Tankersley cites findings from The Hamilton Project’s discussion paper, "Using Data to Improve the Performance of Workforce Training." In the paper, Louis Jacobson of New Horizons Economic Research and Robert LaLonde of the University of Chicago propose a competition to increase the return on workforce training investments by developing the data and measures necessary to provide the information prospective trainees need, by presenting the information in user-friendly “report cards,” by providing help for prospective trainees to use the information effectively, and by creating incentives for states to implement permanent information systems once they prove cost-effective. Tankersley cites the paper to support his suggestion that community college enrollees may save money and maximize their future earnings by “asking pointed questions very early about what degree or certificate you plan to pursue; how likely it is that you’ll complete that degree, given your academic record; and what sort of job prospects await grads in that field.”

Blog Post Jul 25, 2013

Why Are College Student Contributing Less Money for College? It Might Be the Internships

Today on Washington Monthly’s “College Guide” blog, Daniel Luzer discusses The Hamilton Project’s latest employment analysis, “Rising Student Debt Burdens: Factors Behind the Phenomenon.” In the analysis, the Project examines possible explanations for the recent increases in student debt and default rates. Luzer posits that one reason students may be contributing less for their education is that they are working in unpaid internships over the summer. “It used to be normal for college students to go home and work for the summer waiting tables or working on farms or serving as counselors at summer camps,” writes Luzer. He adds, “This is still, common, of course, but there are a lot more college students interning in the summer. And that means they’ve got less money to contribute to their education.” To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jul 24, 2013

Family And Religion Play A Critical Role In Economic Mobility

Today in Business Insider, Mandi Woodruff discusses a new report, "The Economic Impacts of Tax Expenditures” in which researchers from Harvard University and the University of California-Berkeley compare upward mobility across different U.S. cities. She notes that the findings support data from many other reports, including The Hamilton Project’s latest policy memo “Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education,” which have emphasized the link between income inequality and social mobility. She notes that the policy memo drives “home the notion that access to education and a sound family structure also [gives] children the best shot at winding up better off than their parents.” To read the full story, click here.

Blog Post Jul 17, 2013

The Latest Statistics on Teen Sleep Needs

“Starting school later in the day for middle and high school students would likely increase student achievement, especially for disadvantaged teens, according to a 2011 study by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenbarger in a recent Q&A for in the paper. Shellenbarger highlights The Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments” in which, Brian A. Jacob and Jonah E. Rockoff suggest that implementing managerial reforms and making sure the “trains run on time” can substantially increase student learning at modest cost. Jacob and Rockoff propose three organizational reforms to improve student performance at moderate cost: 1) Starting school later in the day for middle and high school students; 2) Shifting from separate to elementary and middle schools to K-8; 3) allow teachers to teach the same grade level for multiple years or having teachers specializing in the subject where they appear most effective. To read the full paper, click here.

Blog Post Jul 16, 2013

The $6 Envelope That Gets Low-Income Kids Into College

Today in National Journal’s “The Next Economy,” Sophie Quinton highlights findings from The Hamilton Project’s recent discussion paper, “Informing Students about Their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project.” In the paper, Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia present a strategy for improving college outcomes for high-achieving, low-income students.  Building on previous research showing that most high-achieving, low-income students do not even apply to selective colleges, Hoxby and Turner propose expanding a recently piloted informational intervention called the Expanding College Opportunities (ECO) Project. Quinton quotes Hoxby, who noted at The Hamilton Project’s recent forum on expanding college opportunity that, "It turns out that these interventions are just as effective or more effective than a lot of the in-person interventions that cost at least 100 times as much, and sometimes 300 or 400 times as much." To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jul 8, 2013

A Better Investment

The American Association of Community Colleges recently highlighted findings from The Hamilton Project employment analysis ,”Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad” as part of their “DataPoints” series. In the employment analysis, the examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education, and the rate of return to their investment exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. AACC notes that the return on investment for an associate degree is more than three times higher than these conventional investments. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jul 1, 2013

Here’s How To Get Smart, Poor Kids Into Top Colleges

In a recent story for ABCNews and Univision, Emily DuRuy writes that the “stakes are high for granting more poor students access to quality higher education” and highlights a recent Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Informing Students about Their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project.” In the paper, Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia present a strategy for improving college outcomes for high-achieving, low-income students. Building on previous research showing that most high-achieving, low-income students do not even apply to selective colleges, Hoxby and Turner propose expanding a recently piloted informational intervention called the Expanding College Opportunities (ECO) Project. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jun 24, 2013

Is a college degree still worth it?

In a recent op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Jeffrey Selingo cites data from The Hamilton Project employment analysis, “Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 — In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?” In the analysis, The Project compares the value of a college degree to other investment options and finds higher education provides, by far, the greatest rate of return. Selingo highlights the finding that the “annual return on investment of a bachelor’s degree is 15 percent, compared with 6 percent for stocks and 1 percent for housing.” To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jun 11, 2013

Going to college is worth it – even if you drop out

This week, Business Insider’s Laura Brothers and Wonkblog’s Dylan Matthews discussed The Hamilton Project’s latest employment analysis, “Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?” In the analysis, the Project examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education. “Taking into account the cost of going to college for a certain period (1.83 years on average, for these students), the return on investment is significantly lower than that for bachelor’s degrees or professional degrees (a category which includes medical, law and dental degrees, but not PhDs or master’s degrees), but still higher than stocks, bonds, or any other conventional investment,” Matthews notes. To read the full Wonkblog story, click here. To read the full Business Insider story, click here.

Blog Post Mar 13, 2013

Standard Tests Do Reveal Which Teachers Are Best

In his Bloomberg View column, Advisory Council member Peter Orszag discusses two new studies that suggest there are benefits to evaluating teachers using metrics such as students’ test scores. Orszag writes that these metrics should be improved, but “that shouldn’t keep us from using the ones we have now.” A 2006 Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” outlines a program of federal support to help states measure the effectiveness of individual teachers. In the paper, Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger provide recommendations for improving teacher effectiveness, including the removal of barriers to entering the teaching profession and making it more difficult to grant tenure to those least effective on the job. To read the full paper, click here.

Blog Post Jan 22, 2013

Issues in Science and Technology Feature Hamilton Project Paper on “Staying in School”

The Winter issue of Issues in Science and Technology highlights a Hamilton Project discussion paper in which Philip Oreopoulos and Derek Messacar of the University of Toronto present a strategy for reducing the dropout rate that would raise the compulsory schooling age to 18, and also combines stricter and better-enforced school-attendance laws with programs that have been statistically proven to prevent disengagement among at-risk students.

Blog Post Nov 6, 2012

Running the numbers on your college education ROI

Reuters in an article on selecting a major highlights data from The Hamilton Project paper, “Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 — In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?” which finds that investing in college has a higher return than investments in stocks and bonds. The Project compares the economic benefits of a college degree to its costs and finds the benefits of a four-year college degree on average are more than double the average return to stock market investments since 1950 and more than five times the returns to corporate bonds, gold, long-term government bonds, or home ownership. Read the full piece here.