Topic: Postsecondary Education and Employment
Purpose: The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) conducts research and provides national leadership (in cooperation with IES) in order to advance knowledge regarding the link between postsecondary education and the labor market. Specifically, the Center aims to clarify this link with attention to four key topics: (1) relatively short-term occupational degrees (occupational associate degrees and certificates or diplomas) that are designed to improve labor market outcomes; (2) non-credit workforce programs that now enroll millions of students and play an important (but under-investigated) workforce development role; (3) the burgeoning for-profit sector; and (4) the trajectory of earnings growth after college (or even occurring simultaneously with college).
Research Projects: The Center researchers have organized their work into 12 core projects and 2 supplemental studies. They are conducting research examining relations between postsecondary education, including education and training prior to the bachelor degree level, and employment outcomes. Center researchers also engage in national leadership activities relevant to postsecondary education and employment. The Center conducts research using data from five partner states (North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and California) in two broad areas: (1) labor market returns and (2) institutional and public policies. Regarding labor market returns, the Center researchers analyze a broad range of educational pathways in 2- and 4-year colleges. Regarding policy issues, the Center researchers are evaluating a series of initiatives designed to improve student outcomes, focusing on policies that combine work and study, that provide financial aid, and that help students choose among educational pathways. In supplemental studies, researchers are examining policies aimed at variously defined Minority-Serving Institutions, and they have also reviewed evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving college math readiness among incoming students.
Project 1: North Carolina (Clive Belfield—Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY), Arne Kalleberg—University of North Carolina)
Using North Carolina data, researchers will analyze the employment and earnings outcomes for different community college pathways and awards. The outcomes for this project will include employment (e.g., industry and occupation), patterns of employment and unemployment, and earnings. For pathways, specific attention will be paid to: (1) remedial education, (2) vocational/technical programs, and (3) patterns and timing of student progression through programs of study. For awards, specific attention will be paid to: (1) sub-baccalaureate credentials, (2) non-credit programs, (3) adult basic education programs, and (4) bachelor's degrees. Researchers will examine variation in the benefits of college by student characteristics, including age, gender, prior education, work experience, and specific community college. Data for this work will come from the North Carolina Community College System, specifically the Curriculum Registration, Progress, Financial Aid (CRPFA) Report on each student (from 2001–02 to 2011–12), college placement test data, and high school transcript data linked to Unemployment Insurance (UI) data.
Project 2: Michigan (Susan Dynarski—University of Michigan, Brian Jacob—University of Michigan, Peter Bahr—University of Michigan)
Using Michigan data, the first objective is to estimate the employment and earnings returns to course credits and the additional returns to a credential or degree. The second research objective is to examine variation in outcomes by program and course content (e.g., math, science, and remedial courses) and student characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, English learner status, age, previous employment, previous academic preparation, and displaced worker status). The educational data sources will be longitudinal, student-level administrative data from community colleges in Michigan. Analysis by student characteristics will allow the research team to estimate potential differential effects of these programs for lower and higher income students.
Project 3: Ohio (Eric Bettinger—Stanford University, Bridget Long—Harvard, Judith Scott-Clayton—Community College Research Center [CCRC])
In this study, the research team will examine the college enrollment, persistence, and educational and employment outcomes of Ohio students by using state administrative data matched with employment records. The sample will include students who enrolled in Ohio’s public postsecondary institutions between 2000 and 2011. The research team will make comparisons across the relative value of different sectors (e.g., technical colleges, community colleges, universities) in retraining workers. The research aims to identify whether traditional 2-year colleges and technical 2-year colleges have been successful in helping workers overcome job loss and shifting skill demands through retraining programs. The study will also consider how earnings trajectories evolve differently over time for individuals with different postsecondary experiences.
Project 4: Virginia (Shanna Jaggars—CCRC)
This study uses Virginia data to relate educational pathways to the industry and occupation of employment, patterns of employment, earnings, and occupational outcomes and to assess the labor market returns to developmental education. The research team will also draw on data from the state’s 4-year colleges to compare students who start in community colleges with those who start in 4-year colleges, and they will contrast the labor market outcomes for students who transfer from community college to 4-year schools to “native" students, i.e., students who initially enroll in 4-year colleges.
Project 5 (a & b): California (Project 5a: Michal Kurlaender—U. of California, Davis, Ann Stevens—U. of California, Davis)
Using California data, this study will analyze returns to career and technical education (CTE) pathways. Award holders will be compared to those who have taken CTE courses but earned no award. The research will examine which types of CTE programs generate the largest returns and will illustrate the substantial heterogeneity both in terms of student characteristics and outcomes across the CTE space.
(Project 5b: Susan Dynarski—University of Michigan, Brian Jacob—University of Michigan, Peter Bahr—University of Michigan )
In this study, researchers will carry out analyses on general returns to awards, coursework/subjects, and credits from enrollment in California community colleges. The research team will also examine the returns to credits in different areas independent of the returns to awards, thus exploring the value of postsecondary education for non-completers.
Project 6: The Role of the For-Profit Sector in Higher Education (David Deming—Harvard University, Claudia Goldin—Harvard University, Lawrence Katz—Harvard University)
This analysis of national datasets will analyze the relative size and importance of the for-profit sector and compare education and labor market outcomes (employment, earnings, pattern of unemployment, and industry and occupation of employment) for those attending for-profit institutions versus similar students attending public institutions. Researchers will pay particular attention to a comparison of the characteristics of students in the for-profit and public sectors to determine whether there are systematic race/ethnic and socioeconomic status differences between the two groups. The research team will also carry out a “resume audit” study to determine whether employers are more or less likely to respond to resumes that are randomly assigned a for-profit credential.
Project 7: Education and Interstate Mobility (Judith Scott-Clayton—CCRC)
This project will use national survey data (from NLSY-97) to examine labor market outcomes for individuals with the full spectrum of postsecondary experience, including no college at all. The researchers will focus on the correlation between educational attainment and patterns of interstate mobility, on how mobility evolves over time, and on the potential bias in estimating returns using only single-state employment data.
Project 8: Federal Work Study (Judith Scott-Clayton—CCRC)
For this project, researchers will use two waves of the nationally representative Beginning Postsecondary Student survey (BPS:96-01 and BPS:04-09) to study the effects of access to the Federal Work Study (FWS) program on education and labor market outcomes (including persistence, degree completion, student loan debt, and post-college employment). The research team will examine whether students are in jobs that are related to their studies and whether and in what ways students think current employment affects their academic and future labor market prospects.
Project 9: Working While Enrolled (Eric Bettinger—Stanford University, Bridget Long—Harvard University)
In this study, researchers focus on examining the roles that student employment plays in predicting students' college success. In this project, researchers use the same data as in Project 3 (Ohio). The research team will first provide a descriptive analysis of how extensive employment while studying is among Ohio students. In the second part of the analysis, the research team will attempt to identify the effects of such employment on subsequent college success. Additionally, researchers are interested in determining whether concurrent employment undermines students' success in college.
Project 10: One-Stop Career Centers in North Carolina (Michelle Van Noy—Rutgers University)
In this analysis of data from North Carolina researchers will examine the effectiveness of One-Stop Career Centers located on community college campuses in North Carolina in securing employment for students. The research team will also explore the effect of the One-Stop Career Centers on students' career choice. In addition, they will explore both whether this type of institutional arrangement facilitates better education and labor market outcomes and whether such effects have differential effects based on factors such as socioeconomic status and gender.
Project 11: One-Stop Career Centers in Florida (Lou Jacobson—New Horizons Economic Research)
Using student-level data from the Florida data warehouse for cohorts that entered college between 2000 and 2009, researchers will examine the use of One-Stop Career Centers. The research team will focus on the effects of the process through which students make decisions about which program or career to enter. To more clearly understand the impact of career advising and counseling on adult students’ career choices and outcomes, the researchers will also gather institutional-level data on the extent of assessment and counseling provided on entry as well as the availability of other supportive services.
Project 12: Financial Aid for Community College Students(Judith Scott-Clayton—CCRC)
Using matched education—wage state data, researchers will examine the academic and labor market effects of receiving financial aid, including aid from major federal programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans. This study will provide much-needed evidence on the effect of financial aid on college performance, persistence, and completion for community college students, and it will be one of the few studies to generate evidence regarding future labor market outcomes of financial aid.
Project 13: Supplemental Study: Minority-Serving Institutions (Valerie Lundy-Wagner—CCRC)
A core problem for research on Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) is that they have been defined inconsistently. This project consists of analyses to clarify differences among institutions considered as MSIs based on federal designation, federal MSI fund receipt, and institutional and student characteristics. Researchers will also address another limitation on research—the lack of explicit connection between multiple federal MSI-related policies and funding programs aimed at reducing inequality by ethnicity/race. The research team will examine relevant executive, legislative, and judicial actions at the federal level, focusing on policies specifically aimed at increasing educational attainment of students who attend MSIs.
Project 14: Supplemental Study: Improving College Math Readiness (Michelle Hodara—CCRC)
A major challenge facing students as they pursue a postsecondary degree is a lack of academic preparedness for college-level coursework, and, in particular, college-level math. This project reviews the research on the effectiveness of strategies that seek to improve the math preparedness and success of high school students entering college. These include assessing students’ math skills in high school using college placement exams; providing math bridges, boot camps, and brush-ups before students start college; reforming developmental math sequences; and improving instruction in developmental and college-level math courses.
Center Website: http://capseecenter.org.
IES Program Contact: James Benson
Telephone: (202) 219-2129
Publications from this Project:
Deming, D. J., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2012). The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26 (1), 139–164.
Deming, D., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2013). For-Profit Colleges. The Future of Children, 23 (1), 137–163.
Liu, Y. T., Belfield, C. R., & Trimble, M. J. (2015). The Medium-Term Labor Market Returns to Community College Awards: Evidence from North Carolina. Economics of Education Review, 44, 42–55.
Schudde, L., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). On Second Chances and Stratification: How Sociologists Think About Community Colleges. Community College Review, 43 (1), 27–45.
Reports and Working Papers
Bahr, P. R., Dynarski, S., Jacob, B., Kreisman, D., Sosa, A., & Wiederspan, M. (2015). Labor Market Returns to Community College Awards: Evidence from Michigan (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Belfield, C., & Liu, Y. T. (2015). The Labor Market Returns to Math Courses in Community College (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Belfield, C., Liu, Y. T., & Trimble, M. J. (2014). The Medium-Term Labor Market Returns to Community College Awards: Evidence from North Carolina (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Deming, D. J., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2012). The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators? (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Deming, D., Yuchtman, N., Abulafi, A., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2014). The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Gelblum, M. (2014). The Early Impact of Postsecondary Career and Technical Education: Do Workers Earn More in Occupations Related to Their College Major? (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Hodara, M. (2013). Improving Students' College Math Readiness: A Review of the Evidence on Postsecondary Interventions and Reforms (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Hodara, M., & Xu, D. (2014). Does Developmental Education Improve Labor Market Outcomes? Evidence from Two States (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Jaggars, S. S., & Xu, D. (2015). Examining the Earnings Trajectories of Community College Students Using a Piecewise Growth Curve Modeling Approach (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Kalleberg, A. L., & Dunn, M. (2014). Institutional Determinants of Labor Market Outcomes for Community College Students in North Carolina (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Liu, Y. T., & Belfield, C. (2014). Evaluating For-Profit Higher Education: Evidence from the Education Longitudinal Study (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Liu, Y. T., & Belfield, C. (2014). The Labor Market Returns to For-Profit Higher Education: Evidence for Transfer Students (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Nguyen, T.-H., Lundy-Wagner, V., Samayoa, A. C., Gasman, M., Wilson, A., Diggs, D., Wolff, M., Dávila, C., & Boland, W. (February 2015). On Their Own Terms: Two-Year Minority Serving Institutions. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, Graduate Center of Education, Center for Minority Serving Institutions.
Schudde, L., & Scott-Clayton, J. (2014). Pell Grants as Performance-Based Aid? An Examination of Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements in the Nation's Largest Need-Based Aid Program (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Scott-Clayton, J., & Minaya, V. (2014). Should Student Employment Be Subsidized? Conditional Counterfactuals and the Outcomes of Work-Study Participation (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Stevens, A., Kurlaender, M., & Grosz, M. (2015). Career-Technical Education and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from California Community Colleges (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Zeidenberg, M., Scott, M., & Belfield, C. (2015). What About the Non-Completers? The Labor Market Returns to Progress in Community College (A CAPSEE Working Paper). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Xu, D. & Trimble, M. J. (2014). What About Certificates? Evidence on the Labor Market Returns to Non-Degree Community College Awards in Two States (A CAPSEE Working Paper). Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
Belfield, C., Liu, Y. T., & Trimble, M. J. (2014). Labor Market Returns to Community College: Evidence from North Carolina (A CAPSEE Research Brief). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
CAPSEE. (2013). For-Profit Colleges: Growth, Outcomes, Regulation (A CAPSEE Research Brief). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.
CAPSEE. (2015). The Federal Work-Study Program: Impacts on Academic Outcomes and Employment (A CAPSEE Policy Brief). New York, NY: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.