Summary of Information Heterogeneity and Intended College Enrollment

Federal Reserve Bank of New York,

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Information Heterogeneity and Intended College Enrollment  summary
Misperceptions about a college education’s benefits and costs may hamper US enrollment.


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Most US households inaccurately perceive the costs and benefits of a college education, and that may be why college enrollment has stagnated. That’s the conclusion Fed economists Zachary Bleemer and Basit Zafar reach, albeit with caveats, in their leading-edge research. The authors make a valuable contribution by highlighting how individual assessments can have significant impacts on the broader economy. getAbstract recommends this scholarly report to educators, administrators and those concerned with reversing America’s educational lag.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What role household perceptions play in college enrollment in the United States,
  • Why half of students from the poorest households don’t go to college, and
  • Why informing potential students about the real benefits and expenses of higher education could result in higher enrollments.


Almost one-third of students who graduate from US high schools choose not to attend college, and of those from families in the bottom 20% of earners, half don’t enroll. Enrollment and completion rates in the US have stagnated despite a consistently strong “college premium”: University graduates earn...
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About the Authors

Zachary Bleemer is a senior research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where Basit Zafar is a senior economist.

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