Three essays on the economics of education choice
Muehlenbein, Sara Ann
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Education matters. As attending college, and more recently pursing a graduate education, become more common endeavours, research on how students transition though the secondary and post-secondary educational systems is both vital and informative for students and policy-makers. My research centers around these transitions in and out of educational institutions and examines how specialized pathways through the educational system impact education. Here, I present three empirical investigations that speak to the efficacy of these specialized pathways to educate our youth, aid in transitions in and out of post-secondary institutions, and support graduates in their pursuit of advanced degrees. The first essay evaluates the efficacy of competitive magnet schools, one of many specialized K-12 pathways offered by public schools. The second essay analyzes the impact of a major federal financial aid policy change on the specialized paths of graduate students pursing a master's degree and their borrowing decisions. The third essay characterizes specialized pathways related to major choice in the post-secondary transition from undergraduate studies to graduate studies.