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William Elliott III

Professor of Social Work, Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science

Professor William Elliott is a leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt, and wealth inequality. Shaped by his personal roots in poverty in a small steel mill city in Pennsylvania, Professor Elliott pursues is challenging individual beliefs and cultural values that surround funding for college, student debt, inequality, systemic patterns of poverty, and educational justice. Being refined in poverty allows him to approach questions in his research differently.

Some of the college savings account programs he is currently conducting research on are the Oakland Promise in California, Prosperity Kids in New Mexico, K2C in San Francisco, Promise Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He’s published in journals such as Economics and Education Review, Journal of Poverty, Race and Social Problems, Educational Policy, and his most recent book is, “Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts”. His research adds fuel to debates about how to imagine ways of financing college other than by student debt. He believes that there are real possibilities and his research bears this out. He asks if college education can truly be the great equalizer it is meant to be when wealth inequality remains the defining feature of American society. He calls for the next great wealth transfer in America. The seemingly naive premise behind Professor Elliott’s research is that there are better, more effective, and more just ways of financing college and delivering on the promise of the American dream. He suggests, people must just be shown once again that more is possible.

Research Interests/Focus

Economic, educational, and racial disparities; social policy; mental health; child development

Contact Information

Preferred method of contact is email. For PhD questions please call (734) 763-5768 or email ssw.phd.info@umich.edu.

PhoneFaxEmailRoomAddress
(734) 764-9340(734) 763-3372willelli@umich.edu3734 SSWBUniversity of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Education

Year Degree   School
2008 PhD Social Work Washington University, St. Louis, MO
2005 MSW Social Work Washington University, St. Louis, MO
1995 BA Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA

Websites

Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

Elliott, W. & Rauscher, E. (2018). When does my future begin? Student debt effects on intragenerational mobility. Sociology Mind, 8, 175-201.

Elliott, W., Kite, B., O’Brien, M., Lewis, M. & Palmer, A. (2018). Initial elementary education findings from Promise Indiana's children's savings account program. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 295-306.

Elliott, W., Rauscher, E., & Nam, I. (2018). Unequal returns: Intragenerational asset accumulation differences by net worth in early adulthood. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 253-263.

Elliot, W. & Lewis, M. (2018). Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children's Savings Accounts. Oxford Press.

Lewis, M., O’Brien, M., & Elliott, W. (2017). Immigrant Latino families saving against great odds: The case of CSAs and the prosperity kids program. Race and Social Problems, 9(3), 192-206.

Palmer, A., Elliott, W., & Cheatham, G. (2017). Effects of extracurricular activities on postsecondary completion for students with disabilities. The Journal of Educational Research, 110(2), 151-158.

Lewis, M., O’Brien, M., Jones-Layman, A., O’Neill, E., & Elliott, W. (2017). Saving and educational asset-building within a community-driven CSA program: The case of Promise Indiana. Poverty and Public Policy, 9(2), 188-208.

Rauscher, E., Elliott, W., O’Brien, M., Callahan, J., & Steensma, J. (2017). Examining the relationship between parental educational expectations and a community-based children's savings account program. Children and Youth Services Review, 77, 96-107.

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2017). Student Debt: A Reference Handbook. Broomfield, CO: Praeger.

Rauscher, E. & Elliott, W. (2016). The relationship between income and net worth in the U.S.A: Virtuous cycle for high but not low income households. Journal of Poverty.

Rauscher, E. & Elliott, W. (2016). Wealth as security: Growth curve analyses of household income and net worth during a recession. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 37, 29-41.

Zhan, M., Xiang, X., & Elliott, W. (2016). Education loans and wealth building among young adults. Children and Youth Services Review, 66, 67-75.

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2015). Student debt effects on financial wellbeing: Research and policy implications. Journal of Economic Surveys, 29(4), 614-636.

Friedline, T., Scanlon, E., Johnson, T., & Elliott W. (2015). Educational and financial institutions partnering to implement CSAs: Evaluation of financial partners' perspectives from the 2011 GEAR UP invitational priority. Journal of Community Practice, 23(2), 203-237.

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2015). The real college debt crisis: How student borrowing threatens financial well-being and erodes the American dream. Broomfield, CO: Praeger.

Rauscher, E. & Elliott, W. (2014). The effect of wealth inequality on higher education outcomes: A critical review. Sociology Mind, 4, 282-297.

Elliott, W. (2014). Solving the paradox of high college expectations: The role of children’s savings accounts. In R. Cramer & T. Williams Shanks (Eds.), The assets perspective: The rise of asset building and its impacts on social policy. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2014). Child development accounts (CDAs). The Encyclopedia of Social Work.

Lewis, M., Cramer, R., Elliott, W., & Spraque, A. (2013). Policies to promote economic stability, asset building, and child development. Children and Youth Services Review, 36, 15-21.

Cheatham, G., Smith, S. J., Elliott, W., & Friedline, T. (2013). Family assets, postsecondary education, and students with disabilities: Building on progress and overcoming challenges. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(7), 1078-1086.

Friedline, T., & Elliott, W. (2013). Connections with banking institutions and diverse asset portfolios in young adulthood: Children as potential future investors. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(6), 994-1006.

Elliott, W., Choi, E. H., & Friedline, T. (2013). Online statistics labs in MSW research methods courses: Reducing reluctance toward statistics. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(1), 81-95.

Friedline, T., Elliott, W., & Chowa, G. (2013). Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings. Economics of Education Review, 33(1), 31-51.

Elliott, W. & Sherraden, M. (2013). Assets and educational achievement: Theory and evidence. Economics and Education Review, 33(3), 1-7.

Elliott, W. (2013). Small-dollar children’s savings accounts and children's college outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 548585.

Elliott, W. (2013). The effects of economic instability on children’s educational outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 461-471.

Elliott, W. & Kim, J. (2013). The role of identity-based motivation and solution-focus brief therapy in unifying accounts and financial education in school-related CDA programs. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 402-410.

Elliott, W., Nam, I., & Friedline, T. (2013). Probability of living through a period of economic instability. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 453-460.

Elliott, W. & Friedline, T. (2013). “You pay your share, we’ll pay our share”: The college cost burden and the role of race, income, and college assets. Economics of Education Review, 33, 134,-53.

Friedline, T., Elliott, W., & Chowa, G. (2013). Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings. Economics of Education Review, 33(1), 31-51.

Elliott, W., Constance-Huggins, M., & Song, H. (2013). Improving college progress among low- to moderate-income (LMI) young adults: The role of assets. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34, 382-399.

Elliott, W., Choi, E. H., & Friedline, T. (2013). Online statistics labs in MSW research methods courses: Reducing reluctance toward statistics. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(1), 81-95.

Song, H. & Elliott, W. (2012). The effects of parents’ college savings on college expectations and Hispanic youth’s four-year college attendance. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 1845-1852.

Friedline, T., Elliott, W., & Nam, I. (2012). Predicting savings and mental accounting among adolescents: The case of college. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(9), 1884-1895.

Elliott, W. & Nam, I. (2012). Direct effects of assets and savings on the college progress of Black young adults. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(1), 89-108.

Elliott, W., Chowa, G. & Loke, V. (2011). Toward a children’s savings and college-bound identity intervention for raising college attendance rates: A multilevel propensity score analysis. Sociology Mind, 1(4), 192-205.

Elliott, W., Destin, M, & Friedline, T. (2011). Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children’s educational outcomes: Implications for theory, policy and intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2312-2328.

Elliott, W., Jung, H., & Friedline, T. (2011). Raising math scores among children in low-wealth households: Potential Benefit of Children’s School Savings. Journal of Income Distribution, 20(2), 72-91.

Friedline, T. & Elliott, W. (2011). Predicting savings for white and black young adults: An early look at racial disparities in savings and the potential role of children's development accounts (CDAs). Journal of Race and Social Problems, 3(2), 99-118.

Elliott, W. & Beverly, S. (2011). The role of savings and wealth in reducing “wilt” between expectations and college attendance. Journal of Children and Poverty, 17(2), 165-185.

Song, H. & Elliott, W. (2011). The role of assets in improving college attainment among Hispanic immigrant youth in the U.S. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2160-2167.

Elliott, W., Choi, E. H., Destin, M. & Kim, K. (2011). The age old question, which comes first? A simultaneous test of children’s savings and children’s college-bound identity. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(7), 1101-1111.

Elliott, W. & Beverly, S. (2011). Staying on course: The effects of savings and assets on the college progress of young adults. American Journal of Education, 117(3), 343-374.

Friedline, T., Elliott, W., & Nam, I. (2011). Predicting savings from adolescence to young adulthood: A propensity score approach. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 2(1), 1-22.

Chowa, G. & Elliott, W. (2011). An asset approach to increasing financial and efficacy expectations among families in Uganda. Journal of Socio-Economics, 40(1), 81-87.

Sherraden, Margaret. S., Johnson, L., Guo, B. & Elliott, W. (2010). Financial capability in children: Effects of participation in a school-based financial education and savings program. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(3), 385-399.

Elliott, W., Jung, H., Kim, K., & Chowa, G. (2010). A multi-group structural equation model (SEM) examining asset holding effects on educational attainment by race and gender. Journal of Children and Poverty, 16(2), 91-121.

Elliott, W., Kim, K. H., Jung, H., & Zhan, M. (2010). Asset holding and educational attainment among African American youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1497-1507.

Elliott, W., Sherraden, M., Johnson, L. & Guo, B. (2010). Young children's perceptions of college and saving: Potential role of child development accounts. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1577-1584.

Shanta, P. & Elliott, W. (2010). Suppressor variables in social work research: Ways to detect them in multiple regression. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 1(1), 28-40.

Elliott, W., Jung, H., & Friedline, T. (2010). Math achievement and children’s savings: Implications for child development accounts. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 31(2), 171-184.

Elliott, W. (2010). Review of the book "Steady gains and stalled progress: Inequality and the black- white test score gap" by Katherine Magnuson and Jane Waldfogel, editors. Social Service Review, 84(2), 312-315.

Elliott, W. (2009). Children’s college aspirations and expectations: The potential role of college development accounts (CDAs). Children and Youth Services Review, 31(2), 274-283.

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