Bending the Curve: Institutional Factors Associated with Graduation Rates

Juliana de Castro Galvao, Frederick Tucker, and Paul Attewell. Higher Education Policy, February 2023. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-023-00304-5 Abstract We analyze a decade of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data for four-year colleges to investigate how much institutions have improved their graduation rates from 2008 through 2018, once controlling for institutional and student body characteristics. We find …

Quantifying and Qualifying the Adjunct Penalty: The Impact of Faculty Composition on Postsecondary Value at 4-year Institutions

Frederick Tucker. Report funded by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2024. Abstract This report explores the impact that institutional reliance on different types of adjunct faculty has on graduation rates and postsecondary value at four-year colleges and universities. Institution-level data from IPEDS, College Scorecard, and the Equitable Value Explorer is utilized in a series …

Early Indicators of Student Success: A Multi-state Analysis

Paul Attewell, Christopher Maggio, Frederick Tucker, Jay Brooks, Matt S. Giani, Xiaodan Hu, Tod Massa, Feng Raoking, David Walling, & Nathan Wilson (Journal of Postsecondary Student Success, 2022) Abstract This paper reports the results of a four-state collaboration––Texas, New York, Virginia, and Illinois––that uses Student Unit Record Database Systems that track students from high school …

The STEM grading penalty: An alternative to the “leaky pipeline” hypothesis

Dirk Witteveen and Paul Attewell. Science Education. 2020; 104: 714– 735. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21580 Abstract The low number of baccalaureates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is often viewed as problematic for the US’s economic competitiveness, leading scholars to search for explanations for STEM retention. Our analyses of the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study indicate that …

Reconsidering the ‘Meritocratic Power of a College Degree’

Dirk Witteveen and Paul Attewell. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. (forthcoming) Open Access Abstract Sociologists of social stratification have repeatedly documented the transmission of socio-economic advantage across generations in the US population as a whole. However, some scholars argue that this link between family background and status attainment does not hold for individuals who …

The Relationship Between Work During College and Post College Earnings

Daniel Douglas and Paul Attewell. Frontiers of Sociology (10 December 2019) Open-access: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2019.00078/full Abstract Prior research suggests that undergraduates employed during term time are less likely to graduate. Using transcript data from a large multi-campus university in the United States, combined with student earnings data from state administrative records, the authors find that traditional-age students …

The Post-College Fortunes of Humanities Graduates

Christopher Maggio, Frederick Tucker, and Paul Attewell (under review) Abstract Using recent data from the National Survey of College Graduates, we examine several post-college outcomes for bachelor’s graduates in the humanities, compared with other majors. Humanities graduates fare worse in terms of family formation, employment, and post-college earnings. These drawbacks occur despite the fact that, …

Social Dimensions of Student Debt: A Data Mining Analysis

Dirk Witteveen and Paul Attewell. Journal of Student Financial Aid. Vol 49, No 1. 2019. Abstract Media commentary on undergraduates’ loan debt portrays a crisis in which many students are unable to pay back their loans, having borrowed large sums and lacking sufficient post-college income to repay. Several scholars have questioned the media accounts, noting …

Delayed Time-to-Degree and Post-College Earnings

Dirk Witteveen and Paul Attewell. Journal of Research in Higher Education. Published online 26 October 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11162-019-09582-8 Abstract Increasingly, undergraduates take more than 4 years to complete a baccalaureate, a situation widely perceived as a waste of time and money, for students, their families, and taxpayers. We first identify several phenomena that result in a longer …

The Value of an Incomplete Degree: Heterogeneity in the Labor Market Benefits of College Non-Completion.

Matt Giani, Paul Attewell, David Walling. Journal of Higher Education. August 2019 Abstract Many states have set college completion goals and begun funding institutions at least partially based on credentials conferred to address the issue of low college completion rates. An assumption underlying these approaches is that college non-completion does not “pay off.” Using data …

The Vertical Transfer Penalty among Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

Dirk Witteveen and Paul Attewell. Journal of Higher Education.  Published online: 24 May 2019   Abstract Numerous studies have investigated the consequences of vertical transfer on students’ higher education outcomes in comparison to ‘native four-year students’ – those who went straight from high school into a bachelor’s program. However, the long-term labor market outcomes for vertical …

The Surprising Labor Market Success of Part-Time Community College Students

Christopher Maggio and Paul Attewell. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. May 2019. Abstract Considerable research has focused on the academic outcomes of part-time undergraduates. Fewer studies, however, have addressed their post-college labor market outcomes. This study compares the post-college earnings of community college students at a large, urban, public university system based on …

Working During College: Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone?

Daniel Douglas and Paul Attewell. Report prepared for Education and Employment Research Center, Rutgers University. January 2019. Abstract Prior research suggests that undergraduates employed during term time are less likely to graduate. Using transcript data from a large multi-campus university, combined with student earnings data, we find that traditional-age students who worked for pay during …

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