Urban Economics Association Student Prize Session (2018)
Abstract: We study the impact of the 2005-2015 international student boom on local housing markets. By constructing a sample of American college towns characterizing rarely studied local markets, we show that international students exogenously sustained demand for rentals and residential investment even during the housing bust. Using an instrument based on the historical distribution of foreign students across college towns, we find that international students increased rents by 1% and home prices by 1.6% relative to the housing boom peak. An analysis exploiting within-city dynamics reveals that neighborhoods near campus absorbed international inflows by replacing single-family homes with apartment rentals.
"Beyond tuition: The impact of cost of living on students"
Urban Economics Association Student Prize Session (2019)
(Draft coming soon)
Abstract: This paper goes beyond the focus of the college affordability debate on tuition and studies how living expenses affect the human capital accumulation of US college students. Cost of living (COL) allowances reported by colleges are a substantial part of cost of attendance, which limits federal loan and grant amounts. Without regulation or oversight, self-reported college COL estimates considerably differ from local cost benchmarks, with under-reporting particularly pervasive in 4-year for-profits. Exploiting within-university variation in levels of reported living costs, I show that under-reporting in 4-year for-profits increases dropout rates and enrollment, and lowers student aid received by students. By having all universities follow standardized COL estimates and making the average under-estimating 4 year for-profit university perfectly accurate, dropout rates would decrease by 15%.