The Effect of State Policy on College Choice and Match
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States play a critical role in the U.S. higher education system, both by providing funding to colleges and students and by regulating some aspects of the college admissions process.1 This paper summarizes existing research on a variety of state higher education policies, with a focus on the effect of such policies on students’ college enrollment choices, the quality of the colleges they attend, and their degree completion rates. The authors pay particular attention to the issue of the match between a student’s academic skills and chosen college, in part because state policies likely most affect under-served, under-resourced, and under-informed students who, as recent research shows, are more likely to undermatch than their more advantaged counterparts. The authors emphasize the importance of evaluating such policies not only on the basis of how they affect enrollment rates but also by the extent to which they connect students to colleges that give them the greatest chance completing their degrees.