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THE CAUSAL IMPACT OF THE WISCONSIN SCHOLARS GRANT ON UNDERGRADUATE TIME USE Douglas N. Harris Sara Goldrick-Rab Chris Taber University of Wisconsin at.

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Presentation on theme: "THE CAUSAL IMPACT OF THE WISCONSIN SCHOLARS GRANT ON UNDERGRADUATE TIME USE Douglas N. Harris Sara Goldrick-Rab Chris Taber University of Wisconsin at."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE CAUSAL IMPACT OF THE WISCONSIN SCHOLARS GRANT ON UNDERGRADUATE TIME USE Douglas N. Harris Sara Goldrick-Rab Chris Taber University of Wisconsin at Madison Affordability & Attainment in Wisconsin Public Higher Education. July 8, 2011

2 Why Study Time Use?  In the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study  Why were the average effects so modest?  Can we account for the observed variation in impacts by subgroup?  More broadly:  Why are college completion rates so low, especially for low-income students?  Why are students studying less? Leisure College USA (Babcock and Marks)  Is this why learning gains are apparently “exceedingly small or non-existent”? (Arum and Roksa)  Is financial aid making students lazy? (Vedder)

3 Theories of Income and Time Use  Economics  Standard model distinguishes individuals’ time in work and leisure  Leisure a “normal good,” increasing with income  Might therefore expect grant to yield increased leisure True even if with loan reduction (still an increase in wealth)  Where do study and class time fit in? They have elements of both work & leisure  Sociology  Time use depends on family background, relationships, social capital, cultural capital, etc.  Students whose time use is influenced more by their parents may yield a more positive response to the grant (e.g. bottom third)  Possibility of both positive and negative effects of income, depending on context

4 Data  Time use information from student surveys  Same four-year sample of students as in prior paper  Focus on Fall, 2009 survey, one year after WSG grant

5 Time Use Categories WorkSleep (D) Work on campus (W)Leisure Work off campus (W) Student organizations (W) Class (D) Exercise (W) Study (D) Friends (D) Family Online activities (D) Child care (D) TV, etc. (D) Care for relative (W) Volunteering (W) Younger siblings (W) D= Daily; W= Weekly

6 Digging Deeper  Study Time Quality  We also consider how students spent their time– not just what they spent it on  Research by Arum & Roksa (“Academically Adrift”) suggests, for example, that studying alone or in the library results in higher-quality studying than studying with friends  “Extensive” Work Time  See Benson & Goldrick-Rab next

7 How Did WSLS Students Spend Their Time?  Note: Our results suggest that Pell students have noticeably less leisure time than students in the Arum and Roksa sample Control Treatment

8 Did Grant Recipients and Non-Recipients Have Equivalent Initial Time Use? TCDiff.p-value Had time use measures (%) Missing time use measures (#) Average weekly hours Baseline FAFSA char. (F-test)*

9 Avg. Effects of Grant on Time Use ** ***

10 Avg. Effects in Percentage Terms ** ***

11 Avg. Effects on Study Time Quality Control Avg Control s.d

12 Differential Impacts of the Grant  Goal: see whether impacts on college outcomes by persistence propensity are reflected in time use  Again, much less statistical power due to smaller N’s in subgroups  Equivalence tests very important

13 Effects of Grant on Time Use: Students with Low Propensity to Persist **

14 Effects of Grant on Time Use: Students with High Propensity to Persist *

15 Effects of Grant on Study Time Quality: Low Propensity to Persist *** Control Avg Control s.d

16 Effects of Grant on Study Time Quality: High Propensity to Persist * Control Avg Control s.d

17 Summary  This is all exploratory and preliminary  That said, the grant seems to have led students to study more, work less, and have less leisure  Again, what is true on average is not true for all  Average effects on time use concentrated in the low persistence propensity group  No average effect on study quality masks improvement in low persistence propensity group  Does this “explain” the differences in educational outcomes? Not necessarily, effects of time use on outcomes is hard to establish  More to come

18 Implications and Next Steps  Does financial aid make these students lazy?  Not for these students: if anything, it reduced leisure  And these students don’t have as much leisure to start with  Evidence is suggestive that financial constraints may play a role in college experience, especially for the least well off  Sara is planning additional ways of measuring and analyzing time use for the 2012 cohort, including text messaging


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