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Handa, Sudhanshu & Gordon, Peter-John (1999). University Admissions Policy in a Developing Country: Evidence from the University of the West Indies. Economics of Education Review, 18(2), 279-289.


Universities in developing countries are often faced with the twin burden of increasing demand for tertiary education and a shrinking share of the government education budget. Cost-effective delivery of university education requires designing appropriate programs and admissions policies that do not compromise academic standards. This paper critically analyzes the admissions policy by the University of the West Indies (UWI) of increasing the share of part-time students in undergraduate enrolment. Using data on student grades in first year courses in social science, the paper shows that part-time students are significantly more likely to fail these courses than full-time students, even after controlling for observable differences in age, sex, choice of major and pre-entry qualifications. Given the profile of the typical part-time student at UWI, the paper suggests that lower motivation and greater time constraints account for the poor performance of these students, and proposes two solutions to reduce the social cost of high failure associated with part-time students.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economics of Education Review


Handa, Sudhanshu
Gordon, Peter-John