The Education Policy Initiative
engages with practitioners, policymakers and key legislative agencies to identify pertinent education policy questions, conduct rigorous research, and disseminate findings. Co-Directors Susan Dynarski
and Brian Jacob
founded the initiative in 2012. Our research seeks to improve educational outcomes at all stages—from preschool through adult education. See our website
to review our work.
Expanding access to higher education
Researchers and advocates of higher education finance reform have much to celebrate. This includes Susan Dynarski, who has long argued for transparency of data surrounding student loans
, student debt, and student outcomes. Dynarski celebrated a big new win in her New York Times Upshot
column, "New Data Gives Clearer Picture of Student Debt."
Further, students (and their families) will soon be able to apply earlier
for aid, using the tax retrieval tool and income from the prior year. Why does this matter? Check our policy brief
and Dynarski's column
What next? Dynarski will discuss aid simplification at TEDx Indianapolis on October 20. Catch the live stream
or join us for our watch party.
Community college awards lead to increased wages for some students
In their working paper Labor Market Returns to Community College Awards: Evidence From Michigan
, EPI researchers track credentials, credits, earnings, and employment across nearly a decade for students who enrolled in five community colleges in Michigan in 2003 and 2004. The research points to considerable variation in impact on wages, depending on field and type of credential.
Do capital improvements impact academic achievement?
In their new working paper Investing in Schools: Capital Spending, Facility Conditions, and Student Achievement
, Kevin Stange
, Isaac McFarlin
and Paco Martorell investigate academic achievement effects of nearly 1,400 capital campaigns initiated and financed by local school districts, comparing districts where school capital bonds were either narrowly approved or defeated by district voters. The evaluation finds little evidence that school capital campaigns improve student achievement or close achievement gaps.
Job market candidates
EPI is privileged to work with and train talented doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. This year four enter the job market - we wish them much success in securing their next positions and lend our enthusiastic recommendations.
is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Economics and a predoctoral trainee at the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research. His main research fields are labor and public economics. He has conducted research on topics in demography and industrial organization and worked with Brian Jacob studying the effects of a housing voucher program. His job market paper is "Moved to Opportunity: The Long-Run Effect of Public Housing Demolition on Children."
is a doctoral candidate in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Her fields of interest include economics of education, development economics, labor economics and early childhood education. Her research examines the role that settings outside of school play on educational inequality gaps, in the context of both developing and developed countries. Her job market paper is entitled "Fueling Violence Instead of Education? The Effect of Oil Price Booms on Educational Attainment."
, doctoral candidate in economics at the University of Michigan, focuses on the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs, such as Medicaid and housing assistance. His job market paper examines the effect of gaps in children's health insurance on their long-term outcomes.
EPI actively supports public policy internships
EPI supported the third cohort of the Michigan Education Data Fellowship
and expanded student support to federal internships.
As Michigan Education Data Fellows, MPP students Meredith Reid and Austin Slaughter contributed to two separate evaluations of the relationship between participation in state preschool (Great Start Readiness Program) and third grade academic achievement as well as high school student-to-guidance counselor ratios and college enrollment. Project outcomes included a College Enrollment Report Card, featuring two- and four-year college enrollment rates for all Michigan public high schools, and Michigan's first High School Dropout Early Warning System.
As an Education Pioneers Fellow supported financially by EPI and the Ford School, MPP/MA-Economics student Brendan Malone
interned in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology. Brendan helped plan a White House symposium supporting new partnerships in higher education and reimagining quality assurance in non-traditional programs, like MOOCs and coding boot camps.