Higher Education

Correction to: The Role of Family Support in Facilitating Academic Success of Low-Income Students
The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake in the acknowledgement section. Some of the vital information is missing in the published article. The complete information is presented with this erratum.
Fractions in College: How Basic Math Remediation Impacts Community College Students


This study investigates the link between basic math skills, remediation, and the educational opportunity and outcomes of community college students. Capitalizing on a unique placement policy in one community college that assigns students to remedial coursework based on multiple math skill cutoffs, I first identify the skills that most commonly inhibit student access to higher-level math courses; these are procedural fluency with fractions and the ability to solve word problems. I then estimate the impact of “just missing” these skill cutoffs using multiple rating-score regression discontinuity design. Missing just one fractions question on the placement diagnostic, and therefore starting college in a lower-level math course, had negative effects on college persistence and attainment. Missing other skill cutoffs did not have the same impacts. The findings suggest the need to reconsider the specific math expectations that regulate access to college math coursework.

Does Inducing Students to Schedule Lecture Watching in Online Classes Improve Their Academic Performance? An Experimental Analysis of a Time Management Intervention


Time management skills are an essential component of college student success, especially in online classes. Through a randomized control trial of students in a for-credit online course at a public 4-year university, we test the efficacy of a scheduling intervention aimed at improving students’ time management. Results indicate the intervention had positive effects on initial achievement scores; students who were given the opportunity to schedule their lecture watching in advance scored about a third of a standard deviation better on the first quiz than students who were not given that opportunity. These effects are concentrated in students with the lowest self-reported time management skills. However, these effects diminish over time such that we see a marginally significant negative effect of treatment on the last week’s quiz grade and no difference in overall course scores. We examine the effect of the intervention on plausible mechanisms to explain the observed achievement effects. We find no evidence that the intervention affected cramming, procrastination, or the time at which students did work.

The Role of Family Support in Facilitating Academic Success of Low-Income Students


While college education is a key to upward mobility, low-income students are substantially less likely to earn bachelor’s degrees than their more economically advantaged peers. Prior higher education literature illuminates various factors contributing to student success, but few studies consider the role of family support after students enter higher education. We examine how two different forms of family support—emotional and financial—are related to academic outcomes (grades, credit accumulation, and persistence) among low-income college students. Our analyses, based on a sample of 728 first-year low-income students attending eight four-year institutions, indicate that family emotional support plays an important role in fostering positive academic outcomes. Family emotional support is beneficial for academic outcomes as it promotes psychological well-being and facilitates greater student engagement. Financial support is not related to the outcomes examined in the sample as a whole. However, interaction models point to variation by first-generations status wherein continuing-generation students benefit more from family financial support than their first-generation peers. Presented findings offer valuable insights into the role of families in supporting low-income students in college and can inform institutional policies and practices aimed at facilitating their success.

Can Transfer Guides Improve the Uptake of Major Prerequisites? Evidence from Ohio’s Transfer and Articulation Policy Reform


This study investigates the use of transfer guides to help students identify transferrable prerequisite credits for academic majors. Employing administrative data of students enrolled in Ohio community colleges, I examine the impact of these curricular roadmaps, called Transfer Assurance Guides (TAG), which were featured in reforms of the state’s articulation policy. Leveraging variation in the availability of TAGs as a natural experiment, I estimate the impact of these guides on prerequisite course-taking in the fields of history, business, and economics. I also consider whether the effect varies for first-year students compared to returning students. I find that effects on prerequisite course-taking differed across academic majors, and the effects were lower for students enrolled in their first year compared to returning students. The findings suggest that transfer guides may affect student course-taking, but the impact is small and varies by the preparedness level of students.

Framing and Labeling Effects in Preferences for Borrowing for College: An Experimental Analysis


Evidence from behavioral economics suggests that the framing and labeling of choices affect financial decisions. Through a randomized control trial of over six thousand high school seniors, community college students, and adults without a college degree, we identify the existence of both framing and labeling effects in respondents’ preferences for borrowing for postsecondary education. How financially equivalent contracts are framed alters the preferences of high school and community college students. Furthermore, simply labeling a contract a “loan” reduces the likelihood of selecting that option by 8–11 percentage points among those samples. These effects are more pronounced among Black high school respondents and Hispanic high school and community college respondents who are both twice as likely as White respondents to avoid the loan option when it is labeled a “loan.” Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that this labeling effect is driven by more risk averse respondents. Our findings imply that the federal government, states, and institutions should be attentive to the language used when offering and explaining financial aid packages for higher education.

Connecting School and Home: Examining Parental and School Involvement in Readiness for College Through Multilevel SEM


Parental involvement is widely acknowledged as a critical factor influencing the college choice process among families. What is not clear, though, is whether this parental driven factor also takes place at the school level along with school related factors. Using a national sample of 9th grade students drawn from about 900 schools, we found that parental involvement also operates at the school context along with a high school’s academic press. Moreover, at both individual- and school-level contexts, parental involvement creates a “college-going” cultural capital in the form of attainment of milestones towards college.

Parenting on the Path to the Professoriate: A Focus on Graduate Student Mothers


This study presents new findings on tenure-track job outcomes for mothers who parented children during graduate school. Using NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates (2000–2005) and Survey of Doctorate Recipients data (2000–2013), I explore how PhD mothers’ accumulation of career-related resources in graduate school influences their likelihood of attaining tenure-track jobs.

The Impact of an Interest-Major Fit Signal on College Major Certainty


Students’ choice of college major is related to their interests (Porter and Umbach in Res High Educ 47:429–449, 2006), and students whose major is well-aligned with their interests are more likely to persist in that major (Allen and Robbins in Res Higher Educ 49(1):62–79, 2008) and complete a college degree in a timely manner (Allen and Robbins in J Couns Psychol 51(1):23–35, 2010). This study investigates whether a specific signal (i.e., Low, Medium, or High fit) that high school students receive about the alignment between their initial choice of planned major and their measured interests has an impact on the subsequent certainty of their initial choice of planned major. A regression discontinuity design was used to investigate the stability/increase in planned major certainty across two ACT administrations for students with Medium versus Low fit and High versus Medium fit. Results did not provide evidence that the signal is effective; possible explanations and recommended future research are discussed.

Examining the Relationship Between 2-year College Entry and Baccalaureate Aspirants’ Academic and Labor Market Outcomes: Impacts, Heterogeneity, and Mechanisms


Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), this paper analyzes students’ baccalaureate attainment and early labor market performance, comparing 2-year college and 4-year institution entrants and exploring the potential heterogeneous treatment effects of initiating one’s college experience in a 2-year college by individual pre-college academic preparation. Utilizing propensity score matching on a rich set of student demographic characteristics, academic and high school attributes, we find that 2-year college entry sharply reduces baccalaureate aspirants’ likelihood of earning a baccalaureate, and such negative effects are particularly pronounced for students in the highest quartile of pre-college math ability. In terms of labor market outcomes, female 2-year college entrants are less likely to gain full-time employment, as compared to their female 4-year institution counterparts. We also examine various mechanisms that may hinder 2-year college entrants’ baccalaureate completion, including the impact of 2-year college attendance on early academic progress, challenges of the transfer process, loss of credits at the point of transfer, and post-transfer academic shock. Our results provide suggestive evidence in support of all four mechanisms.

Alexandros Sfakianakis
Anapafseos 5 . Agios Nikolaos


Higher Education


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