Current Research Projects

Curs, B., Harper, C., Frey, C., & Wolak, B. (2022). The effect of college football bowl game participation on student-athlete academic outcomes and team athletic success. [Invited to revise and resubmit – revision under review]

This study presents he results of a regression-discontinuity approach to investigate the effects of postseason bowl game participation on student-athlete academic outcomes and subsequent football team success. The practice expectations for student-athletes on football teams that participate in a bowl game increase by between two and four weeks relative to student-athletes on teams that do not participate in a bowl game. Prior research has been inconclusive on whether this increased practice intensity is associated with academic or athletic outcomes. The sample includes 130 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams between the years 2003 through 2018. We apply a fuzzy regression discontinuity design by exploiting the fact that teams in the NCAA FBS become eligible to participate in a bowl game when their regular season winning percentage is greater than .500. The results suggest that bowl game participation increased the team’s eligibility rate by 0.7 percentage points, the team’s Academic Progress Rate by 4.5 points, but had no effect on the team’s retention rate. Bowl game participation was not found to affect the subsequent year’s winning percentage or likelihood of bowl game participation. Athletic programs that are truly undecided about whether the costs, in finances or time, of participating in a bowl game are worthwhile might benefit from these findings. In particular, the results reveal that bowl game participation does not come as a detriment to the academic outcomes of their student-athletes.

Jaquette, O., & Curs, B. (2022). Faculty hiring at the out-of-state university. [Invited to revise and resubmit – revision under review]

Declines in state appropriations have decreased the ability of public research universities to hire faculty, particularly tenure line faculty and compelled many universities to grow nonresident enrollment as a substitute for state funding. This study investigates whether faculty hiring was associated differently with nonresident enrollment growth versus resident enrollment growth. Grounded in labor demand theory, to study this relationship we estimate institution-level panel statistical models for the academic years 2002-03 to 2016-17. Results indicate that nonresident enrollment growth had a stronger positive association with full-time tenure line hires than resident enrollment growth. In contrast, employment of full-time and part-time non-tenure track faculty was not associated differently to nonresident versus resident enrollment growth. The institutional policy implication is that nonresident enrollment growth may be a viable strategy to finance tenure line faculty hires. However, state policymakers should recognize that many public research universities and most regional public universities face weak nonresident enrollment demand and are unlikely to compensate for declines in state funding by growing nonresident enrollment.

Harper. C., Curs, B., Beasley, J., Mao, X., & Green, J. (2022). A budgeting intervention’s role in challenging college student’s self assessed financial behaviors, beliefs, and likelihood of pursuing additional support. [Under initial review]

This study examined whether a budgeting intervention was related to any self-reported changes in college students’ financial self-efficacy, financial management behaviors, or financial stress. The budgeting intervention significantly correlated only with higher financial self-efficacy, where the post-test was significantly larger. Results are also presented that investigate which student characteristics, behaviors, and beliefs were significant predictors of seeking additional campus-level financial support through the Office for Financial Success. Participants who reported more negative financial management behaviors were less likely to make an Office for Financial Success appointment. The results lend support for the benefits of budgeting interventions within non-finance courses and aimed at students who are less likely to seek campus support but are self-reporting harmful financial behaviors.

Curs, B., Harper, C., Kumbal, J. (2021). Institutional inequities in the prevalence of registration sanctions at a flagship public university. [Invited to revise and resubmit – revision in progress]

This article examines the prevalence of receiving course registration sanctions (i.e., past due balance notification, stop registration hold, and cancel registration order) caused by past due financial balances. The longitudinal dataset follows all first-time, first-year students at a public flagship university during their first two years of college. Overall, we found that course registration sanctions were common as within the first two years of enrollment as 67% of students received a past due balance notification, 35% received a stop registration hold, and 11% received a cancel registration order. The results demonstrate differential patterns in the prevalence of course registration sanctions across demographic, academic, and financial factors. Specifically, students were significantly more likely to receive a registration sanction if they were: of high financial need, Black or African American, first-generation college students, and students with lower high school grades or low ACT scores. Furthermore, we found that Black and African American students were more likely to receive registration sanctions even after controlling for the size of the past due balance, their financial need, and their academic success. The findings provide evidence of systemic inequities that require institutional intervention. Additional differential patterns are discussed.

Kyoore, J., & Curs, B. (2021). High school exit exams and college enrollment: A state-level analysis. [Invited to revise and resubmit – revision in progress]

This study examines the relationship between adopting of exit exams as a state policy and college enrollment. By adopting student choice model as the theoretical framework, the study employed quasi-experimental research design difference-in-differences. The results show that exit exams are positively related to enrollment in 4-year institutions only. When disaggregated by types, the study showed that end-of-course exams only have a positive and significant relationship with enrollment in 4-year institutions.


Kalatozi, N., & Curs, B. (2021). Crime at U.S. higher education institutions: An examination of student, organizational, and community characteristics. Journal of Higher Education Management, 36(2), 117-131.

Jaquette, O., Kramer, D. A., & Curs, B.R. (2018). Growing the pie? The effect of responsibility center management on tuition revenue. Journal of Higher Education, 89(5), 637-676.

Curs, B. R.,& Jaquette, O. (2017). Crowded out? The effect of nonresident enrollment on resident access to public research universities.Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 39(4), 644-669.

Munoz, J., Harrington, J., Curs, B. R., & Ehlert, M. (2016). Democratization and diversion: The effect of Missouri's A+ schools program on postsecondary enrollment. Journal of Higher Education, 87(6), 801-830.

Jaquette, O., Curs, B. R., & Posselt, J. R. (2016). Tuition rich, mission poor: Nonresident enrollment growth and the socioeconomic and racial composition of public research universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 87(5), 635-673.

Harrington, J., Munoz, J., Curs, B. R., & Ehlert, M. (2016). Examining the impact of a highly targeted state administered merit aid program on brain drain: Evidence from a regression discontinuity analysis of Missouri’s Bright Flight program. Research in Higher Education, 57(4), 423-447.

Jaquette, O. & Curs, B. R. (2015). Creating the out-of-state university: Do public universities increase nonresident freshman enrollment in response to declining state appropriations? Research in Higher Education, 56(6), 535-565.

Beyers, S. J., Lembke, E. S., & Curs, B. R. (2013). Social studies progress monitoring and intervention for middle school students. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 38(4), 224-235.

Clem, D., Donaldson, J., Curs, B. R., Anderson, S., & Hdeib, M. (2013). The role of spatial ability as a probable ability determinant in skill acquisition for sonographic scanning. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Curs, B. R. & Harper, C. E. (2012). Financial aid and first-year collegiate GPA: A regression discontinuity approach. The Review of Higher Education, 35, 627-649.

Curs, B. R., Bhandari, B., & Steiger, C. (2011). The roles of public higher education expenditure and the privatization of higher education on U.S. state economic growth. Journal of Education Finance 36, 424-441.

Curs, B. R., & Singell, L. D., Jr. (2010). Aim high or go low? Pricing strategies and enrollment effects when the net price elasticity varies with need and ability. Journal of Higher Education, 81, 515-543.

Saupe, J. L., & Curs, B. R. (2008). Deriving enrollment management scores from ACT Data. IR Applications, 16, 1-16.

Curs, B.R. (2008). The effect of institutional merit-based aid on enrollment decisions of needy students. Enrollment Management Journal, 2(1), 10-31.

Curs, B. R., Singell, L. D., Jr., & Waddell, G. R. (2007). Money for nothing? The institutional impact of changes in federal aid policy. Education Finance and Policy, 2, 228-261.

Curs, B. R., Singell, L. D., Jr., & Waddell, G. R. (2007). The Pell program at thirty years. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research: Vol. XXII (pp. 281-334). New York: Springer.

Singell, L. D., Jr., Waddell, G. R., & Curs, B. R. (2006). Hope for the Pell? The impact of merit-aid on needy students. Southern Economic Journal, 73, 79-99.

Curs, B. R., & Singell, L. D., Jr. (2002). An analysis of the application and enrollment processes for in-state and out-of-state students at a large public university. Economics of Education Review, 21, 111-124.