Estimating the Effect of Attending a Public versus a Private University in Colombia on Academic Achievement

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La serie Borradores de Economía es una publicación de la Subgerencia de Estudios Económicos del Banco de la República. Los trabajos son de carácter provisional, las opiniones y posibles errores son responsabilidad exclusiva del autor y sus contenidos no comprometen al Banco de la República ni a su Junta Directiva.

Autor o Editor
Arlen Guarín
Sebastián Londoño
Carlos Medina
Julieth Parra
Christian Posso
Carlos Eduardo Vélez

We evaluate the impacts of attending a public university in Colombia on the academic achievement of graduates from higher education. Our measurement of academic achievement represents the progress made between the college entrance and graduation standardized test scores. We find that public Higher Education Institutions (HEI) improve student test scores in 11 of the 12 programs analyzed. The superiority of public HEIs relative to private ones suggests the need to promote greater regulation of the latter, and a review their current standards to help bridge the gap that currently exists in terms of the value added public HEIs have in comparison to the private ones. It also suggests that, at least in the short run, it could be socially beneficial to expand the public provision of some of the higher education public programs that added more value.


The series Borradores de Economía is published by the Economic Studies Department at the Banco de la República (Central Bank of Colombia). The works published are provisional, and their authors are fully responsible for the opinions expressed in them, as well as for possible mistakes. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Banco de la República or its Board of Directors.

Update 03/11/2016, 07:46 p.m.