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From AEAStat -- addressing information market failure
The National Center for Education Statistics invites public comment to OMB by April 6 on its request to conduct Baccalaureate & Beyond 2016/20 -- Full-scale Study.
The primary purpose of the B&B longitudinal study series is to describe the post-graduation pathways of baccalaureate recipients, with a focus on their experiences in the labor market, post-baccalaureate education, and their education-related debt. B&B also focuses on the continuing education paths of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates, as well as the experiences of those who have begun careers in education of students through the 12th grade. Since graduating from college in 2015–16, members of this B&B cohort will begin moving into and out of the workforce, enrolling in additional postsecondary education, forming families, and repaying undergraduate education-related debt. Documenting these choices and pathways, along with individual, institutional, and employment characteristics related to those choices, provides critical information on the costs and benefits of a bachelor’s degree in today’s workforce. Original sample was 28,800.
The B&B:16/20 data will allow researchers to address a wide variety of policy-relevant topics, including the consequences of education debt, career paths into and out of STEM fields, the academic preparation and career paths of pre-kindergarten–12th grade teachers, and labor market outcomes of bachelor’s degree recipients in the four years following graduation.

Education debt and loan repayment. As the price of college has increased across the country, so has focus on the amount of education debt accrued and the burden of subsequent repayment. Borrowing for undergraduate education is predicated upon the assumption that future employment will allow for repayment of debt. B&B:16/20 will provide the latest information on recent college graduates’ debt burden, including their selection of income-driven repayment plans, and whether their income is sufficient to repay their loans. The data will allow an examination of the rates of repayment and default on federal student loans among students who graduated from various types of institutions. It will also allow for an examination of the relationship between loan debt and postbaccalaureate outcomes such as enrollment, employment, and in particular, whether contemporary college graduates make different graduate enrollment and employment decisions than they might otherwise, due to their education-related debt.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Given the emphasis that policymakers and business leaders place upon college graduates’ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expertise, analyzing the paths of graduates with STEM majors will provide information about why and when people move into and out of STEM occupations and graduate programs. The B&B data allow the study of whether college graduates with training in these fields are using that training in the workplace or pursuing graduate education in STEM fields.

The pre-kindergarten-12th (pre-K-12) grade teacher. B&B cohorts have historically focused on kindergarten-12th grade (K-12) teacher recruitment and retention as important issues for education policymakers. B&B’s focus on those who enter K-12 teaching after college graduation allows in-depth study of teacher experiences, satisfaction, and mobility into and out of the K–12 teaching profession. Because some states are raising certification and degree requirements to teach pre-K, and in response to a recommendation made by the B&B:16/17 Technical Review Panel (TRP), pre-kindergarten (pre-K) teachers are also be included in the definition of “teachers” studied in the B&B:16 cohort studies. B&B:16’s unique focus on pre-K–12 teachers will allow researchers to compare teachers with their similarly-educated, non-teacher peers in terms of career paths, workplace satisfaction, and salaries.

Labor market outcomes. Finally, B&B:16/20 will collect data on recent college graduates’ employment and job search experiences approximately four years after graduating. The B&B:16/20 data will allow researchers to examine employment and wages as well as unemployment and under-employment, job satisfaction, job search behavior, and the value of the bachelor’s degree in finding employment.
The NCES submission to OMB is available at https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201912-1850-005  Click on IC List for survey instruments, View Supporting Statement for discussion, plans, methods, schedule, consultations with economists and other researchers.
For AEA members wishing to provide comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806  AEA staff support is available at areamer@gwu.edu and 202-994-7866.

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