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>  News Releases >   2006 >   April

Dartmouth study finds travel time, curriculum offerings affect high school student participation in technical education

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/04/06 • Genevieve Haas (603) 646-3661

The commuting time from a student's high school to the technical education center significantly affects whether a young person will participate in technical education, concluded a study released this week by the Policy Research Shop at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College. An extra ten minutes of commuting time leads to a 13 to 15 percent reduction in a school's technical education participation rate. The study, requested by members of the Vermont legislature, comes in the middle of a significant debate of how prioritize technical education construction funding. Curriculum offerings and the students' academic performance also appear to be a factor in a young Vermonter's willingness to enroll in a technical education program.

"Vermont policy makers will be able to use the brief for several years to come. The findings clarify several technical education issues, in particular the impact on enrollment caused by the distance between a sending high school and a center, the number of programs offered at the center and the academic strata of the sending high school," said Representative George Cross, Chair of the House Education Committee.

The Policy Research Shop is a undergraduate student-staffed research enterprise dedicated to providing quality, objective research to the New Hampshire and Vermont Legislatures. On March 15th, students from the Policy Research Shop who worked on the report traveled to Montpelier with Professor Scott Carrell, Director of the Policy Research Shop, to provide testimony on the findings to a joint hearing with the Vermont House Education and Institution Committees.

"Using existing data, the report projects in real numbers how placing a technical center program closer to students and increasing program offerings would increase the number of students participating in technical education," said Andrew Samwick, Rockefeller Center director and Professor of Economics. "The students did an excellent job at responding to a specific policy question with solid quantitative analysis."

The Policy Research Shop has provided additional reports over the last year on the issues of Medicaid spending, dry cask storage, and wind turbine siting. More information on the Policy Research Shop and the full report on the determinants of technical education enrollment can be found at

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