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Robert Fairlie, Ph.D.
UC Santa Cruz/economics
Faculty Seed Grant Fellow, 2008
Title: Does Improving Access to Computers Help Community College Students on Financial Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Northern California
Twenty-five percent of young people in the U.S., primarily from poor, minority and immigrant families, do not have home computers. The lack of access to home computers may place them at a disadvantage in educational attainment and the labor market. The proposed study uses a novel field experiment to address the question of whether home computers improve educational outcomes. The effects of home computers will be studied by randomly assigning free computers to financial aid students at a rural community college in Northern California. A computer refurbishing company has donated 150 computers worth $30,000 for the field experiment. The study would represent the first random assignment evaluation of the effects of home computers on educational outcomes and the first study of the effects of home computers on community college students. Findings from this research may have important implications for improving the educational outcomes of financial aid students attending community colleges.
Dissertation Fellow, 2003
Dissertation: Socioeconomic Inequality, Ethnicity, and College Admissions
Abstract: Large socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities exist in college admissions. This research examines the extent to which an admissions policy that “levels the playing field” by thoroughly, objectively, and systematically accounting for the effects of socioeconomic factors on pre-college achievement can remedy these disparities. This study explores how various socioeconomic factors effect a student’s pre-college academic achievement and explain differences in achievement across racial/ethnic groups. This analysis hopes to offer tangible recommendations for universities making admissions decisions, including how to ensure the validity of policies and how to predict the impact of such policies on the resulting pool of admitted students. Finally it examines if using socioeconomic factors in admissions has an impact on remedying racial/ethnic disparities in admissions.