This paper estimates the causal effects of enrollment in one of five oversubscribed high-quality Los Angeles charter schools using a lottery design. Enrolling in a charter school increased eleventh-grade standardized test scores and enrollment and persistence in four-year colleges substantially, but had no effect on high school GPA. Charter students took more advanced coursework, were less likely to skip class, were more likely to apply to a four-year college, and reported more teacher support for college-going. The increase in four-year persistence appears to be driven by more enrollment and persistence in University of California campuses, which have higher graduation rates than the likely alternatives. This suggests that the effects of charter schools could depend on the availability of high graduation rate colleges.

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