September 18, 2012

Sarah Cohodes (Harvard Kennedy School) and Joshua Goodman (Harvard Kennedy School)

This policy brief provides evidence on the impact of college quality on students' postsecondary enrollment decisions and rates of degree completion. The Massachusetts Adams Scholarship, which is a merit aid program offered to high school students with high test scores and grants tuition waivers at in-state public colleges, was studied. Two key findings of the report are that students are willing to forego college quality for relatively small amounts of money and that choosing a lower quality college significantly lowers on-time completion rates.