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Is a Name Change a Game Change? The Impact of College-to-University Conversions

In the competitive U.S. higher education market, institutions differentiate themselves to attract both students and tuition dollars. One understudied example of this differentiation is the increasing trend of "colleges" becoming "universities" by changing their names. Leveraging variation in the timing of such conversions in an event study framework, I show that becoming a university increases enrollments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which leads to an increase in degree production and total revenues. I further find that these effects are largest when institutions are the first in their market to convert to a university and can lead to negative spillover effects on non-converting colleges.

Keywords
higher education, college choice, college names
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/1wnj-rc37

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Acton, Riley. (). Is a Name Change a Game Change? The Impact of College-to-University Conversions. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-417). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/1wnj-rc37

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