Kelchen

Robert Kelchen

Assistant Professor of Higher Education, Seton Hall University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Public Budgets & Taxes
  • Higher Education

About Robert

Kelchen’s research interests include student financial aid, higher education finance, and accountability policy. 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. His teaching interests include higher education finance, research methods, and governance and accountability policies and practices. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Briefs

Will Impending Reforms in Federal College Loan Programs Hurt Black Students and Families?

  • Sara Goldrick-Rab
  • Robert Kelchen

Podcast

Publications

"Can ‘Value Added’ Methods Improve the Measurement of College Performance? Empirical Analyses and Policy Implications," (with Douglas Harris), HCM Strategists, August 31, 2012.
Develops a “cost-adjusted graduation rate performance” measure to estimate a college’s value-added to students and policymakers using two different metrics. One of the measures developed has been incorporated into Washington Monthly’s annual college rankings.
"Conditional Cash Transfers and College Persistence: Evidence from a Randomized Need-Based Grant Program," (with Sara Goldrick-Rab and James Benson), Institute for Research on Poverty, September 30, 2012.
Uses the random assignment of a private Wisconsin need-based grant to estimate the impacts of financial aid on college persistence among Pell Grant recipients at 13 public universities over three years.
"Recommendations for the Effective and Equitable Implementation of Performance-Based Funding for Wisconsin Higher Education," (with Nicholas Hillman and Sara Goldrick-Rab), The Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, December 31, 2012.
Takes a broader look at performance-based funding initiatives by examining the effects of performance-based funding in other states, and draws on the latest empirical evidence to highlight both the potential benefits and pitfalls of such a funding model.
"A Tale of Two Income Years: Comparing Prior-Prior Year and Prior-Year Through Pell Grant Awards," (with Gigi Jones), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, September 30, 2013.
Examines the distributional implications of advancing the federal aid notification timeline up to one year by using the previous year’s income tax data to determine Pell Grant eligibility.
"Book Review: Getting to Graduation: The Completion Agenda in Higher Education" Journal of Student Financial Aid 43, no. 1 (2013).
Reviews Andrew P. Kelly and Mark Schneider’s volume examining the promises and pitfalls of the completion agenda in higher education.
"Federal College Ratings: A Primer and Potential Implications" Journal of College Admission (forthcoming).
Details the Obama Administration’s proposed Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) and makes methodological and policy recommendations.
"Accelerating College Knowledge: A Fiscal Analysis of a Targeted Early Commitment Pell Grant Program" (with Sara Goldrick-Rab). The Journal of Higher Education (forthcoming).
Evaluates the fiscal consequences of making an early commitment of the full Pell Grant to eighth graders from needy families, using a simplified eligibility process.

In the News

Robert Kelchen quoted in Jillian Berman, "Parents are Borrowing Even More to Pay for Their Kids’ College" Marketwatch, July 10, 2018.
Robert Kelchen's research on college majors discussed in David Jesse. Robert Kelchen, "The 20 College Majors With Lowest Average Student Debt," Detroit Free Press, July 5, 2018.
Robert Kelchen's research on data on educational institutions discussed in Dan Bauman, Goldie Blumenstyk, and Andy Thomason. Robert Kelchen, "Google Wants to Play a Bigger Role in Your College Search. Here’s What You Need to Know.," The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on older college students in Jillian Berman, "This Class of 2018 Graduate is 66 and One of Many Older Americans Pursuing a Degree" Market Watch, May 16, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on racial disparities in student debt in Beckie Supiano, "New Evidence Adds to Troubling Picture for Black Borrowers of Student Loans" The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 15, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on the cost of a college education in Matt Reed, "It Doesn’t Just Seem Harder…" Inside Higher Ed, May 14, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on higher education finance in David Jesse, "How Will Michigan State Pay for Nassar Victim Settlements?" WZZM13, April 30, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on college mergers in Eric Kelderman, "Why College Mergers Need to be More than Just Cutting Administrators" The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on financial aid and higher education in Shamane Mills, "Lawrence University to Pay Tuition for Students Who Can't" Wisconsin Public Radio, April 17, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on the ACICS and higher education accreditation in Andrew Kreighbaum, "A Troubled Accreditor's Long-Term Outlook" Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on long term debt in Jillian Berman, "Americans Who Should be Prepping for Retirement Have a Fast-Growing Student Loan Debt Problem" Market Watch, April 12, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted on the methodology of student survey in Chris Quintana, "No, Students Probably aren’t Blowing Their Student Loans on Bitcoin" The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Jack Salmon, "Federal Aid an Overlooked Culprit of the College Debt Trap" The Hill, January 24, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Eric Kelderman , "Era of Deregulation" The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Anna Helhoski, "Why the Student Debt Crisis Hits Black Borrowers Harder" NerdWallet, February 7, 2018.
Robert Kelchen's research on Matt Reed. Robert Kelchen, "Accountability for What?," Inside Higher Ed, February 18, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Jillian Berman, "Student Loan Borrowers with High Debts aren’t Making Progress Repaying Them" Market Watch, February 20, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Kate Hardiman, "Colleges Emphasize Tuition Freezes, but Not Cost Reduction" Washington Examiner, January 26, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Preston Cooper, "Young College Graduates aren't Moving Like They Used To" Forbes, January 26, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Eric Kelderman, "A Federal Shutdown Wouldn't Cause Chaos in Higher Ed — Unless It Drags On" The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 19, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Jillian Berman, "Students Who Do This during College Earn More Money after They Graduate" MarketWatch, January 3, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Autumn A. Arnett, "Professor's 'Not Top Ten' List Reveals Some Hope for Turning Public Support for Higher Ed" Education Dive, January 2, 2018.
Robert Kelchen's research on Laurie Pine. Robert Kelchen, "Education Professor Recognized as National Scholar and Public Influencer," Seton Hall University News & Events, January 11, 2018.
Robert Kelchen's research on Chris Quintana. Robert Kelchen, "I 'Crushed' My Student Loans in Record Time. (Free Rent Helped)," The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2018.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Lindsay Ellis, "Texas Colleges, Universities Brace for Hard Changes" Houston Chronicle, December 10, 2017.
Robert Kelchen quoted on student loan default rates in Naomi Schaefer Riley, "The Real Meaning behind High Loan Default Rates among Black Students - Another Kind of College Mismatch" Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2017.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Maria Danilova, "Study: Over Half of for-Profit Students Defaulted on Loans" The Associated Press, October 5, 2017.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Andrew Kreighbaum, "Post-Recession Borrowers Struggle to Repay Loans" Inside HigherEd, October 6, 2017.
Robert Kelchen quoted in Grant Welker, "Area Colleges Offer More Aid as Tuition Rises" Worchester Business Journal, September 18, 2017.
Robert Kelchen's research on the impact of excess credit policies discussed in Ashley Smith. Robert Kelchen, "A Punishment That Doesn't Work," Inside Higher Ed, July 20, 2017.
"What Trump Might Mean for Higher-Ed Finance," Robert Kelchen, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2016.
Robert Kelchen quoted on income-based repayment in Anya Kamenetz, "Good News on Student Loans...for Some" National Public Radio, July 26, 2016.
"Clinton’s New College Compact Plan Explained," Robert Kelchen, The Conversation, July 26, 2016.
Robert Kelchen's research on simplifying financial aid applications discussed in Cassandra Willyard. Robert Kelchen, "Student Aid," Seton Hall Magazine, April 29, 2016.
"Are Income Share Agreements a Good Way to Pay for College?," Robert Kelchen, The Conversation, May 5, 2016.
Interview on performance-based fundingRobert Kelchen, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2016.
"Fewer Poor Students are Being Enrolled in State Universities. Here’s Why.," Robert Kelchen (with Luke J. Stedrak), The Conversation, April 5, 2016.
"The 2015 'Not Top Ten' List in Higher Education," Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly, December 17, 2015.
"How Well Do Default Rates Reflect Student Loan Repayment?," Robert Kelchen, Brookings Institution, September 30, 2015.
Guest to discuss college affordability on WNYC Public Radio, Robert Kelchen, September 16, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on weighing what schools contribute through public service, research and social mobility in Nick Anderson, "The U.S. News and World Report College Rankings: A Public vs. Private Dilemma" The Washington Post, September 9, 2015.
Robert Kelchen's research on federal risk-sharing system discussed in Michael Stratford. Robert Kelchen, "A Path to Financial Aid 'Risk Sharing'," Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on higher education affordability in Jillian Berman, "One Way to Keep Colleges Honest without Hurting Low-performing Students" Market Watch, September 9, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on a drop in enrollment at for-profit universities in Jillian Berman, "Why the Growth in Student Loan Debt Slowed Last Year" Market Watch, August 13, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on earning power after graduation in JJ Feinauer, "What We Get Wrong about Student Loan Debt" Deseret News National, July 21, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on raising federal loan limits and tuition hikes in Jillian Berman, "A Surprising Reason for Rising College Tuition" Market Watch, July 7, 2015.
"Is Student Loan Debt Really a Crisis?," Robert Kelchen, The Conversation, July 8, 2015.
"How Should State Higher Education Funding Effort be Measured?," Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly, May 12, 2015.
Robert Kelchen's research on the cost of college attendance discussed in Kaitlin Mulhere. Robert Kelchen, "One Easy Fix That Could Make College Financial Aid Simpler and Better," Time, May 7, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on the cost of attending college in Riyah Basha and Sierra Lai, "The Hidden Cost of College" Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2015.
"Where 3 Accountability Measures Meet, a Hazardous Intersection," Robert Kelchen, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 9, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on tuition reimbursement in Scott Jaschik, "Starbucks Doubles College Effort" Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2015.
"What Your College Isn’t Telling You about Costs," Robert Kelchen (with Sara Goldrick-Rab), Time, April 2, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on expanding the Pell Grant program in Beckie Supiano, "What a Promise of Financial Aid Might Mean to a Middle Schooler" Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on pursuing a competency-based degree in Davon Haynie, "Competency-Based Education: 4 Considerations for Online Students" U.S. News and World Report, March 3, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on simplifying Fafsa form in Melissa Korn, "Lawmakers Try to Simplify Student Aid" Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2015.
Robert Kelchen's research on the advantages and disadvantages of competency-based programs discussed in Anya Kamenetz. Robert Kelchen, "Competency-Based Degree Programs on the Rise," National Public Radio, January 26, 2015.
Robert Kelchen quoted on funding Obama's free community college plan in Max Kutner, "Obama Left Questions Unanswered on Community College Plan" Newsweek, January 21, 2015.
"Should the Government Rate Our Colleges?," Robert Kelchen, Politico, December 18, 2014.
"Making Income-Based Repayment of Student Loans Cost-Effective," Robert Kelchen (with Sara Goldrick-Rab), Chronicle of Higher Education, October 18, 2012.
"Saving Financial Aid for ‘Swirling’ Students," Robert Kelchen (with Sara Goldrick-Rab), Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2012.
"Change FAFSA Now," Robert Kelchen (with Sara Goldrick-Rab), Chronicle of Higher Education, August 15, 2013.
"More Short Than Venti?," Robert Kelchen, Inside Higher Ed, June 18, 2014.
"America’s Best-Bang-for-the-Buck Colleges 2014," Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly, September/October 2014.