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    #248119 - 03/01/21 06:48 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2639
    Loc: MA
    According to this new NBER working paper, students value remote classes only 4% less than in-person ones, which supports my call to "open college classes to everyone". College transcripts can indicate which classes were taken in person or remotely, and for which terms a student lived on campus. Employers can decide how much those factors matter.

    Estimating Students' Valuation for College Experiences
    Esteban M. Aucejo, Jacob F. French, and Basit Zafar #28511

    The college experience involves much more than credit hours and degrees. Students likely derive utility from in-person instruction and on-campus social activities. Quantitative measures of the value of these individual components have been hard to come by. Leveraging the COVID-19 shock, we elicit students’ intended likelihood of enrolling in higher education under different costs and possible states of the world. These states, which would have been unimaginable in the absence of the pandemic, vary in terms of class formats and restrictions to campus social life. We show how such data can be used to recover college student’s willingness-to-pay (WTP) for college-related activities in the absence of COVID-19, without parametric assumptions on the underlying heterogeneity in WTP. We find that the WTP for in-person instruction (relative to a remote format) represents around 4.2% of the average annual net cost of attending university, while the WTP for on-campus social activities is 8.1% of the average annual net costs. We also find large heterogeneity in WTP, which varies systematically across socioeconomic groups. Our analysis shows that economically-disadvantaged students derive substantially lower value from university social life, but this is primarily due to time and resource constraints.
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

    #248120 - 03/01/21 08:09 AM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    A really interesting read!

    I would love to see this model re-run with some covariates around class format (at a minimum, a variable capturing % of classes taken in lab and seminar formats).

    Interestingly (per quote below), it seems that offering college classes online could be beneficial in terms of access for lower income students. However, I'd caution that the low WTP of lower income students for social activities may be due to a crowding out effect if the reason they participate less in social activities is due to a need to work to finance their studies.

    Originally Posted By: pp.18 article
    The subsequent rows of Table 4 show that even within subgroup there is substantial heterogeneity, with
    the difference between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the individual-specific WTPs being more than $3,000 for almost every demographic group. The 90th percentiles are sizable: second-generation and higher-income students at this percentile are willing to pay nearly $3,500 for each of the two amenities (social life and in-person instruction). First-generation and lower-income students at the 90th percentile are willing to
    pay approximately $2,000 for these amenities. There is even a meaningful share of students with negative willingness-to-pay for both in-person and on-campus social activities, leaving the median across most groups around $0.

    What's promising is that information shows what tuition discounts for lower income students would be required to close the gap in access to social opportunities. This also shows the value of social connection and suggests that universities would do well to explore what aspects of on-campus socialization generate the most network value for students in the marketplace. It would be a unique selling point to distinguish programs, especially mid-market ones.

    If I were a university competing for top students, I'd want to quantify expected impacts of participating in the school's social network on mental health, physical health, quality-adjusted social connection, employment prospects, earning potential, and success in program of study. Even with simple self-report scales, I think that would be a powerful value proposition.

    Caveat: There's inevitably collinearity between student WTP for social activities and the monetary value of good social skills in the market (i.e. being inherently social and participating in social activities that create future career opportunities are not statistically independent) . But ratings could be normalized by student scores on 5-factor personality inventories.

    I'm now laughing to myself imagining a PR campaign: "Come to University X: where introverts can succeed with minimal forced socialization!"

    Originally Posted By: pp.21 article
    As previously mentioned, the value of campus social life may, in part, be due to the formation of social networks which provide advantages on the job market or insulate members from bad shocks. We find evidence
    of this in our survey; students with higher social WTP expect to make more money at age 35, with a $1 per year increase in WTP associated with an average increase of $0.81 in expected annual earnings

    Cool share, Bostonian. You'd best get on the phone with your local congressperson!
    What is to give light must endure burning.

    #248122 - 03/01/21 01:36 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1688
    It is very interesting. Wouldn't there be a correlation between extroverts and WTP for social stuff and expectations of expected annual earnings?

    What about the programs that the university underwrites? Like if you find a program in South Africa that aligns with your studies, Harvard pays for it. The whole thing, airfare, program, etc. What is the WTP for that kind of stuff?

    #248124 - 03/01/21 01:55 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Bostonian]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 4034
    I think I know some people who would find the University of Introverts an attractive sell...
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    #248125 - 03/01/21 02:40 PM Re: Open college classes to everyone [Re: Wren]
    aquinas Offline

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    100% agreed on the WTP, wren. That’s what I was getting at in the caveat.

    And yes, it would be fascinating to see a marginal value for the outbound programs!
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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