Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Higher Education
Department of Education Leadership Management and Policy
Robert Kelchen's research interests focus on higher education finance and accountability policies, including areas such as student financial aid, college rankings, and program evaluation. His teaching interests include education finance, research methods, institutional research and planning, and organization and governance. He has recent articles published in The Review of Higher Education, Journal of Education Finance, American Sociological Review, and Journal of Student Financial Aid. His work as a methodologist for Washington Monthly magazine’s annual college rankings won an award for best data journalism from the Education Writers Association. He is frequently quoted in the media, including The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Inside Higher Ed, and Politico, and he was recently selected as one of the 15 most indispensable academics on Twitter by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Ph.D., Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- M.S., Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- B.S., Economics and Finance, Truman State University
- " Institutional Accountability: A Comparison of the Predictors of Student Loan Repayment and Default Rates" The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 671, 202-223, 2017.
- " The Costs of College Attendance: Examining Variation and Consistency in Institutional Living Cost Allowances" The Journal of Higher Education.
- " The Distributional and Cost Implications of Negative Expected Family Contributions" Journal of Student Financial Aid, 2017.
- " How Much Do For-Profit Colleges Rely on Federal Funds?" Brown Center Chalkboard (Brookings), January 2017.
- " What Trump Might Mean for Higher-Ed Finance." The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 2017.
Federal Mechanisms for Improving College Match: Information, Aid, and Accountability"
P. 179-198 in Matching Students to Opportunity: Expanding College Choice, Access, and Quality (Harvard Education Press), August 2016
Degrees of Debt"
The Record (North Jersey), August 2016
An Analysis of Student Fees: The Roles of States and Institutions"
The Review of Higher Education, 39 (4), 597-619, Summer 2016
Income Inequality in Higher Education: Experimental Evidence on the Impact of Financial Aid on College Completion"
American Journal of Sociology, 121(6), 1762-1817, May 2016
Do the Effects of Early Childhood Education Programs Vary by Gender?"
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 521-536, May 2016
Are Income Share Agreements a Good Way to Pay for College?"
The Conversation, May 2016
Who Enrolls in Competency-Based Education? An Examination of the Demographics and Finances of CBE Programs
The Journal of Competency-Based Education, 1(1), 48-59, April 2016
Does Performance-Based Funding Affect Colleges' Financial Priorities?"
Journal of Education Finance, 41(3), 302-321, Winter 2016
Student Loans: A Brief History, the Current Landscape, and Impacts on Society"
P. 173-198 in Higher Education and Society (Peter Lang), January 2016
How Well Do Default Rates Reflect Student Loan Repayment?"
Brown Center Chalkboard (Brookings Institution), September 2015
Where 3 Accountability Measures Meet, A Hazardous Intersection"
The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2015
"Accelerating College Knowledge: A Fiscal Analysis of a Targeted Early Commitment Pell Grant Program"
The Journal of Higher Education, 86(2), 199-232, March 2015
Making Sense of Loan Aversion: Evidence from Wisconsin"
P. 307-371 in Student Loans and the Dynamics of Debt (W.E. Upjohn Institute), Spring 2015
"Financial Need and Income Volatility among Students with Zero Expected Family Contribution "
Journal of Student Financial Aid, 44(3), 179-201, January 2015
A Simulation of Pell Grant Awards Using Prior-Prior Year Financial Data"
Journal of Education Finance, 40(3), 253-272, January 2015
Should the Government Rate Our Colleges?"
Politico Magazine, December 2014
The Costs of Free"
Inside Higher Ed, October 2014
Federal College Ratings: A Primer and Potential Implications"
Journal of College Admission, 225, 12-15, Fall 2014