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Stephanie Riegg Cellini

Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, and of Economics, George Washington University

About Stephanie

Cellini's research focuses on higher education policy and economics. Her recent work examines the impact of changes to federal student aid policy on students and colleges, with a particular focus on the for-profit sector. She co-directs the Postsecondary Equity and Economics Research Project and previously served as editor of Education Finance and Policy, and as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She served as a fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor and as a senior consultant for the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

In the News

Opinion: "To Ensure Value for Students and Taxpayers, Colleges Must Be Held Accountable for Student Outcomes," Stephanie Riegg Cellini, The Brookings Institution, August 23, 2023.
Opinion: "For-Profit Colleges Are Not Allies of HBCUs," Stephanie Riegg Cellini (with Kyle Southern), The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 20, 2022.
Opinion: "Expanding Pell Grants to For-Profit Colleges Benefits Institutions, Not Students," Stephanie Riegg Cellini, The Hill, November 22, 2021.
Opinion: "How Does Virtual Learning Impact Students in Higher Education?," Stephanie Riegg Cellini, The Brookings Institution, August 13, 2021.


"Where Do Colleges Advertise? Demographic Targeting by U.S. Colleges" (with Latika Chaudhary). Economics of Education Review 94 (2023).

Assesses the correlation between advertising spending by U.S. higher education institutions and metropolitan area demographics. Explores whether demographic targeting by colleges differs by sector (for-profit, not-for-profit, and public colleges), as well as for predominantly online institutions and multi-campus chains.

"Forā€Profit Colleges in the United States: Insights from Two Decades of Research," Annenberg Institute at Brown University, May 2021.

Reviews the economics literature on for-profit college education in the United States, analyzing institutional behavior and student outcomes based on two decades of research. The studies reveal that for-profit students experience worse employment and earnings outcomes compared to similar students in other sectors, suggesting a need for additional accountability measures to safeguard students and taxpayers.

"Gainfully Employed?" (with Nicholas Turner). Journal of Human Resources 54, no. 2 (2019): 342-370.

Assesses the impact of for-profit college attendance on the employment and earnings of more than one million students. Findings show that certificate-seeking students in for-profit institutions are less likely to be employed and, if employed, earn lower wages compared to those in public institutions. Suggests that for-profit certificate programs generally do not result in meaningful earnings gains relative to debt burdens for the average student.