Scott-Clayton Says Research Supports Skeptics of Cuomo's Free College Proposal | Teachers College Columbia University

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CCRC's Scott-Clayton Says Research Supports Skeptics of Cuomo's Free College Proposal

Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
In early January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed making up to four years in public colleges and universities tuition free for most New York residents. Skeptics argued that the state's education funds would be better spent as grants to public institutions than as tuition subsidies. In an opinion piece published on the Education Next blog, Judith Scott-Clayton, an Associate Professor of Economics and Education and Senior Research Associate at TC's Community College Research center, writes that research supports the skeptics.

Scott-Clayton writes about a study, released days after Cuomo's proposal, that directly compares the impact of reducing sticker prices at colleges versus increasing institutional spending per student.  

The central question, Scott-Clayton says, is: "[D]oes the marginal dollar spent on higher education have a bigger impact on enrollment and completion if it is used to reduce the sticker prices students face, or instead to increase institutional expenditures that affect the experience they receive once they enroll?" A study by David Deming of Harvard University and Christopher Walters of the University of California at Berkeley finds "large effects when state funds are used to increase institutional expenditures, but virtually no effect when they are used for across-the-board reductions in sticker price," according to Scott-Clayton.

The post originally appeared as part of Evidence Speaks, a weekly series of reports and notes by a standing panel of researchers under the editorship of Russ Whitehurst.

To read the Education Next post, go here.

Published Friday, Jan. 27, 2017

Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
In early January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed making up to four years in public colleges and universities tuition free for most New York residents. Skeptics argued that the state's education funds would be better spent as grants to public institutions than as tuition subsidies. In an opinion piece published on the Education Next blog, Judith Scott-Clayton, an Associate Professor of Economics and Education and Senior Research Associate at TC's Community College Research center, writes that research supports the skeptics.

Scott-Clayton writes about a study, released days after Cuomo's proposal, that directly compares the impact of reducing sticker prices at colleges versus increasing institutional spending per student.  

The central question, Scott-Clayton says, is: "[D]oes the marginal dollar spent on higher education have a bigger impact on enrollment and completion if it is used to reduce the sticker prices students face, or instead to increase institutional expenditures that affect the experience they receive once they enroll?" A study by David Deming of Harvard University and Christopher Walters of the University of California at Berkeley finds "large effects when state funds are used to increase institutional expenditures, but virtually no effect when they are used for across-the-board reductions in sticker price," according to Scott-Clayton.

The post originally appeared as part of Evidence Speaks, a weekly series of reports and notes by a standing panel of researchers under the editorship of Russ Whitehurst.

To read the Education Next post, go here.

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