Office of the Chief Economist

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting the page of the Chief Economist, led by Rajeev Darolia. Reporting directly to the Under Secretary, the Office of the Chief Economist provides analysis and advice to guide real-time higher education policy while building a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test new ways to serve students and borrowers. The members of the Office of the Chief Economist serve as liaisons to the research community so that leading researchers’ insights and evidence inform our agenda and we can work together to build the evidence and research base on how best to strengthen education.

Recent Work

New Blog Post: New Measures of Postsecondary Education Transfer Performance: Transfer-out rates for community colleges, transfer student graduation rates at four-year colleges, and the institutional dyads contributing to transfer student success

In this blog, we use data from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at the U.S. Department of Education to measure the performance of the U.S. postsecondary education system in providing a pathway for students who start at community colleges to eventually graduate with bachelor’s degrees. We constructed a sample of roughly 620,000 students from all 50 states who received Title IV aid and enrolled in a community college as their first postsecondary institution in 2014.

New Blog Post: Trends in Federal Student Loan Borrower Payments Through the End of the Payment Pause: A Comparison of Different Federal Data Sources 

This blog presents data showing trends in payments from just prior to the start of the pause on federal loan payments through September of 2023 and illustrates how data from these different sources depict how student loan payments evolved from prior to the student loan payment pause through September 2023—the month before payments came due after its end.

New Research Report: Trends in Federal Student Loans for Graduate School

This report is the first in a series of OCE reports on graduate student borrowing, providing background in enrollment and degree attainment.  This report highlights the labor market returns associated with graduate education, but also documents a concerning disconnect between borrowing levels and students’ earnings outcomes.

Office of the Chief Economist Publications

OCE Blog Posts
OCE Research Reports
OCE Staff Working Papers
OCE Data Available for Download
OCE Staff Bios (coming soon)