Determinants of Academic Persistence and Success
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
- Chair: Scott Carrell, University of California-Davis
Hungry for Success? SNAP Timing, SAT Scores, and College Attendance
AbstractThe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly nutritional assistance to nearly 1 in 4 children each year. Previous research has documented that families increase expenditures right after SNAP receipt and subsequently decrease consumption throughout the benefit month, creating periods in which many children may go without food. Despite the fact that adequate nutrition is an important factor in academic focus and achievement, little is known about how the timing of benefit transfers can affect student outcomes. In this paper, we analyze how this monthly cyclicality in food availability affects high-stakes test scores and college attendance for high school students. We find that taking the SAT while hungry reduces math and verbal scores by over 10 points and may lead to reductions in the probability of attending a 4-year college.
My Professor Cares: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Faculty Engagement
AbstractThis project aims to address the low persistence and graduation rates seen at broad-access public four-year universities. The project explores one of the least understood aspects of college success—the role of faculty feedback. To test the effect of professor feedback on student success, we conducted randomized interventions across forty different courses at a state university who serves a diverse student population. The “light-touch” intervention consisted of three strategically-timed e-mails to students from the professor indicating the professor’s knowledge of the students’ current standing in the course, keys to success in the class, and a reminder of when the professor is available.
Greek Life, Academics, and Earnings
AbstractUsing records from a large public university, we examine the impact of Greek life on academic performance and salaries. To isolate the causal effect of Greek life, we exploit a university policy prohibiting students from joining a Greek organization during their first semester and a minimum GPA for subsequent eligibility. Regression discontinuity and panel methods reveal that Greek affiliation reduces student grades by 0.1-0.3 standard deviations. Greek effects are largest during the semester of pledging, semesters of increased social activities, and for males. We find no evidence of a Greek salary premium and rule out even modest positive effects.
- I2 - Education and Research Institutions