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Public and Private Costs of College Mismatch

by Merrifield, Sophie

Abstract

A lack of adequate information given to students regarding the college application process has resulted in the phenomenon known as the college mismatch problem. College mismatch, consisting of overmatch and undermatch, represents low achieving students attending high quality institutions and high achieving students attending low quality institutions. In an attempt to explain the significance behind this phenomenon, much of the current literature analyzes the private costs of college mismatch, but falls short when analyzing the public costs. This paper explores both private and public costs by examining degree attainment and college quality in relation to earnings and civic behavior. I use individual level data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth cohort (NLSY97) to estimate six varying private and public models. I find significantly higher earnings for individuals receiving an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree when compared to individuals earning a high school degree or less. Furthermore, attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher positively correlates with volunteering, donating, and voting behaviors while negatively correlating with crime and divorce. These conclusions provide insight into the importance of finding the correct college match in order to maximize earnings and create more active citizens who benefit society.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:17602
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
45 pages
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Rask, Kevin
Department/Program
Department of Economics and Business
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2016-05