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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Edward L. Glaeser

Scholars hurt by quality of state colleges

It’s one thing to entice promising students to stay in Massachusetts by giving them free tuition at state colleges. But making sure those colleges serve them well is a much harder problem. The Commonwealth has yet to solve that problem, and the deficiencies of a popular scholarship program point to the enormous challenges facing public higher education in Massachusetts.

In theory, who could find fault with the Adams Scholarship program, which waives tuition at in-state public colleges for students who do well on the state-mandated MCAS test? But according to new research by Sarah Cohodes and my colleague Joshua Goodman, Adams Scholarship winners go to less-competitive colleges, with lower average SAT scores, than they might otherwise have attended. Worse yet, they don’t save much money.

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