Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities

Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities

by William G. Bowen, Michael S. McPherson, Matthew M. Chingos
     
 

"Crossing the Finish Line is a must-read for anyone concerned with the disturbing fact that Americans can no longer count on each generation being better educated than the last. Focusing on public institutions that educate more than three-fourths of U.S. students, Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson provide compelling arguments that institutions and policymakers

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Overview

"Crossing the Finish Line is a must-read for anyone concerned with the disturbing fact that Americans can no longer count on each generation being better educated than the last. Focusing on public institutions that educate more than three-fourths of U.S. students, Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson provide compelling arguments that institutions and policymakers must find new ways to overcome deeply entrenched patterns if our country is to regain its position as the most educated."—Molly Corbett Broad, president, American Council on Education

"Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson have provided a long-needed overview of public higher education. Even though public colleges and universities educate a high fraction of all undergraduates in this country, very little significant research has been undertaken about this sector. The authors have completed a massive project containing data that will guide the future of public higher education for decades to come. This book should be carefully read and studied by every higher education leader in this country."—E. Gordon Gee, president, Ohio State University

"Addressing an issue that will determine America's leadership role in the world, Crossing the Finish Line should be at the top of everyone's reading list. Innovative and accessible data analyses illuminate all the important factors that determine who achieves the American dream now, and who might do so in the future, if we provide the help so many students desperately need."—William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions, Harvard University

"The twenty-one outstanding flagship state universities studied in this important book are vital for the future of higher education and the quality of our skilled labor force. Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson carry out a sophisticated analysis of the students who enter these universities, those who graduate, and the measurable effects of their education in between. Anyone interested in higher education will want to keep this book at hand."—Robert M. Solow, Nobel Prize-winning economist

"Given rising pressure on state budgets, public higher education must learn to do more with less. Crossing the Finish Line illuminates anachronistic practices, such as an overreliance on test scores in admissions, continuing tuition subsidies to higher income families, and an underemphasis on degree completion. For the nation's economic future and the dreams of tomorrow's college aspirants, we must fundamentally rethink the function, pricing, and operation of public colleges."—Thomas J. Kane, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Crossing the Finish Line is a timely, compelling, and insightful analysis of the challenges of college completion in the United States. Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson have done an extraordinary job of analyzing and synthesizing data that leads to the inescapable conclusion that far too many of the nation's low-income, first generation, and minority students—the future backbone of our workforce—are not graduating from college. In the modern world, a postsecondary degree or credential is not just nice; it's absolutely necessary for our economic and social prosperity as a nation. This book makes a clear case for getting the right information, the right amount of financial assistance, and the right support to students who otherwise might make the wrong choice—or worse, no choice at all."—Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer, Lumina Foundation for Education

"Crossing the Finish Line provides a new and rich source of data. Highly original, the book is by far the most detailed examination ever made of the socioeconomic factors that go into explaining differential rates of public college attendance and completion."—David W. Breneman, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia

"This comprehensive, accessible, and valuable book examines college completion and noncompletion at a group of public colleges and universities. The authors have assembled remarkable data characterizing the background and college experiences of students at these schools, and make a major contribution to our understanding of public higher education institutions."—Jesse Rothstein, Princeton University

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691137483
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface xiii

Chapter 1. Educational Attainment: Overall Trends, Disparities, and the Public Universities We Study 1

Chapter 2. Bachelor's Degree Attainment on a National Level 20

Chapter 3. Finishing College at Public Universities 32

Chapter 4. Fields of Study, Time-to-Degree, and College Grades 57

Chapter 5. High Schools and "Undermatching" 87

Chapter 6. Test Scores and High School Grades as Predictors 112

Chapter 7. Transfer Students and the Path from Two-Year to Four-Year Colleges 134

Chapter 8. Financial Aid and Pricing on a National Level 149

Chapter 9. Financial Aid at Public Universities 166

Chapter 10. Institutional Selectivity and Institutional Effects 192

Chapter 11. Target Populations 207

Chapter 12. Looking Ahead 223

Appendix A. The Modern Evolution of America's Flagship Universities by Eugene M. Tobin

239

Notes 265

List of Figures 337

List of Tables 347

List of Appendix Tables 349

References 357

Index 377

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