Charlie Eaton

University of California, Merced
Department of Sociology
5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95348

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California, Merced

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2018When Investor Incentives and Consumer Interests Diverge: Private Equity in Higher Education
with Sabrina Howell, Constantine Yannelis: w24976
This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in higher education, a sector with opaque product quality and intense government subsidy. With novel data on 88 private equity deals involving 994 schools, we show that buyouts lead to higher tuition and per-student debt. Exploiting loan limit increases, we find that private equity-owned schools better capture government aid. After buyouts, we observe lower education inputs, graduation rates, loan repayment rates, and earnings among graduates. Neither school selection nor student body changes fully explain the results. The results indicate that in a subsidized industry maximizing value may not improve consumer outcomes.

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