This article examines the effect of institutional quality on the educational attainment of community college students, a large group that has been mostly overlooked in previous work. The effect of institutional quality is generally difficult to separate from that of student ability because more capable students usually sort into better colleges. A detailed analysis of student sorting reveals this not to be the case among community college students, for whom college quality is effectively determined by factors other than their aptitude. This facilitates identification of school quality effects. I find that community college quality (as measured by instructional expenditure per student and several other measures) has no impact on community college students' educational attainment. States and colleges should seek to identify other factors that may be more influential.

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