Essays on Student Employment
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CitationChan, Monnica. 2021. Essays on Student Employment. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractCollege tuition and fee rates have risen dramatically over the last twenty years. Grant aid dollars, however, have increased at a slower rate, especially at public four-year institutions, which were twice as expensive in AY2018-19 compared to AY1998-1999 (Ma, Baum, Pender & Libassi, 2018). How do students pay for college when grant aid is not enough? Two potential possibilities are through loans and work. A rich and growing body of literature has explored how much students borrow and what effects borrowing may have on students’ short and long-term success. Whether and how much students are working as another strategy to pay for college, however, is still relatively unexplored. This dissertation contributes to the literature on student employment through two studies.
In the first study, I analyze data from four administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08; NPSAS:12; and NPSAS:16) using a combination of three decomposition methods: Oaxaca-Blinder, semiparametric reweighting, and recentered influence functions. These analytical strategies identify the patterns and factors affecting student employment over the last fifteen years. I find that the probability of a student working while in school has become more closely related to local unemployment rates over time, and less closely associated with college price. In the second part of the dissertation, I use data from the Kentucky Center for Statistics to estimate the causal effect of funding changes to the FWS Program. I find evidence that funding increases are often passed on to students in the form of additional FWS offers; decreases in funding appear to have no effect. There is little impact on students’ academic outcomes. Combined, these studies shed light on the ways student employment intersects with college affordability and its implications for equitable student access and success.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368466
- FAS Theses and Dissertations