Publication Date



With escalating tuitions, the return to college quality remains an important consideration for students deciding whether to spend more money for a higher quality college education. This paper examines how students that transfer credit for an introductory-level course perform in a subsequent intermediate-level course. Using rich administrative data we estimate how college quality affects student performance, holding constant many observable student characteristics.

Students taking introductory courses at higher quality institutions earn higher grades in their intermediate courses than students attending lower quality institutions. This difference is small, but statistically significant. A back of the envelope calculation suggests that, for the average student, the benefit from attending a higher quality institution is more than worth the higher tuition.


Suggested Citation
Dills, A.K. & Hernández-Julián, R. (2006). Transfer college quality and student performance [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations site:

Publisher Statement
Published by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University.