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ERIC Number: ED592094
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Pages: 50
Abstractor: As Provided
Experimental Estimates of Impacts of Cost-Earnings Information on Adult Aspirations for Children's Postsecondary Education. Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series. PEPG 18-01
Cheng, Albert; Peterson, Paul E.
Program on Education Policy and Governance
Economic information may close aspiration disparities for postsecondary education across socio-economic, ethnic and partisan divides. In 2017, we estimated impacts of information on such disparities by means of a survey experiment administered to a nationally representative sample of 4,214 adults. A baseline group was asked whether they preferred a four-year degree, a two-year degree, or no further education for their oldest child under the age of eighteen (or on the option they would prefer if they had one). Before three other randomly selected segments of our sample were asked the same question, they were given either information about (1) both net costs and returns; (2) net costs; or (3) returns to a two-year and four-year degree. Information about both costs and returns did not reduce SES disparities but did affect ethnic and partisan divides. The findings suggest that reductions in socioeconomic inequalities in educational opportunity will require more than simple changes in the dissemination of information aimed at altering economic cost-benefit calculations. Sustained effort that mitigates deeper-seated cultural and social barriers seems necessary.
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Searle Freedom Trust; Walton Family Foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; William E. Simon Foundation
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Program on Education Policy and Governance
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A