November 2015

Every Little Bit Counts: The Impact of High-speed Internet on the Transition to College

Lisa J. Dettling, Sarena F. Goodman, and Jonathan Smith


This paper investigates the effects of high-speed Internet on students' college application decisions. We link the diffusion of zip code-level residential broadband Internet to millions of PSAT and SAT takers' college testing and application outcomes and find that students with access to high-speed Internet in their junior year of high school perform better on the SAT and apply to a higher number and more expansive set of colleges. Effects appear to be concentrated among higher-SES students, indicating that while, on average, high-speed Internet improved students' postsecondary outcomes, it may have increased pre-existing inequities by primarily benefiting those with more resources.

Accessible materials (.zip)

Keywords: Broadband, College Choice, Undermatch


PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 19, 2020