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Paper Examines Links Between Student Transfer and Graduates’ Earnings

A working paper released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research examines the prevalence of student transfer, and how such transfers are connected with graduates’ future earnings.

The paper uses data from Texas to observe student transfer between postsecondary institutions, and how graduates’ earnings differ. “Among UT-Austin graduates, transfer students from non-flagship four-year and community colleges who graduate earn between 11 percent and 14 percent less than direct attendee graduates, while among Texas A&M graduates this difference is about 6 percent,” the report says. “Those who transfer to a non-flagship four-year school from universities outside the flagship sector also earn between 2-4 percent less than direct attendees.”

The paper suggests that some of those differences across institutions stem from the college-major choices of transfer students relative to the major choices of students who do not transfer. It also explores differences in graduates’ earnings by gender and race or ethnicity. The full paper is available to NBER subscribers here.

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