Improving College Choice for the Poorest Students: Examining What Works in Centralized Admissions Systems Using Randomized Experiments
Xiaoyang Ye

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Michigan

Primary Discipline

There is rapidly growing literature on the significant impacts of information provision and individualized assistance on increasing college opportunity for low-income students the United States. But little is known about the effectiveness of these interventions in other contexts. To fill this gap, I provide novel experimental evidence on what and how informational interventions could improve student-college match in a centralized admissions system in China. I have developed and conducted the Bright Future of China Project in Chinese low-income areas, a series of information and assistance interventions in the college application process. Preliminary results from the pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) suggest that, knowledge-based interventions requiring intensive instruction and learning are more effective than simple information provision in improving students’ college choice and match. The remaining policy problem is that these knowledge-based interventions are not scalable. To address this problem, in the full-scale RCT in three poorest provinces, I examine two potential solutions: personnel policies to increase school organizational effectiveness, and data-driven methods to simplify instruction and learning.
About Xiaoyang Ye
Xiaoyang Ye is doctoral student studying the economics of education at the University of Michigan’s CSHPE and the Education Policy Initiative. Xiaoyang’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of education policies and individual schooling choices in both K-12 and higher education. He is currently examining effective ways to organize schools to improve low-income students’ college access and choices in both China and the United States, including large scale school reforms, managerial and personnel policies, and informational interventions using big data methods. With collaborators, Xiaoyang has been developing and implementing the Bright Future of China Project, a college-going advising program serving about 1 million high school graduates in the poorest areas of China. Prior to Michigan, Xiaoyang received a BA in economics and a MA in the economics of education from Peking University.

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