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ERIC Number: ED574286
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 52
Abstractor: As Provided
Why Do Middle School Students Sign Up for Washington's College Bound Scholarship Program? A Mixed Methods Evaluation. CEDR Working Paper. WP #2016-3
Goldhaber, Dan; Long, Mark C.; Person, Ann; Rooklyn, Jordan
Center for Education Data & Research
Why individuals choose not to sign up for social programs, particularly when the costs of sign-up are low and the benefits generous, is a crucial question for policy scholars. In this paper, we show that a substantial share of qualified middle school students fail to sign up for Washington State's College Bound Scholarship program, and this failure leads these students to lose out on college financial aid for which they would be eligible. The availability of student-level data allows us to show that the actual student signup rates are lower than has been previously documented in public reports. We find that the student characteristics that are associated with signing the pledge closely parallel the characteristics of low-income students who go to 4-year colleges. As a consequence, simulations suggest that while the pledge program may address college enrollment gaps, increasing college-going by some historically disadvantaged groups, it also would modestly reinforce inequalities in educational attainment that exist between low-income student sub-groups. Finally, our qualitative analysis finds that incorrect perceptions that nearly all eligible students sign the pledge may be leading program administrators to shift attention away from middle school sign-up decisions in favor of efforts to get high school pledgees to follow through with requirements for scholarship receipt. The following are appended: (1) Regional Officer Interview Questions; and (2) Principal/Guidance Counselor Interview Questions.
Center for Education Data & Research. 3876 Bridge Way North Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98103. Tel: 206-547-5585; Fax: 206-547-1641; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: Center for Education Data & Research (CEDR)
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A140380