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Who merits financial aid?: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship

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  • Goodman, Joshua

Abstract

Most states now fund merit-based financial aid programs, the effects of which depend on how strongly students react to changes in college costs. I estimate such reactions using quasi-experimental aspects of a recent Massachusetts merit scholarship program intended to attract talented students to the state's public colleges. Despite its small monetary value, the Adams Scholarship induced 6% of winners to choose four-year public colleges instead of four-year private colleges, suggesting an elasticity of demand for public college enrollment above unity. Nonetheless, most funds flowed to students who would have enrolled in public colleges absent the scholarship and the aid had no effect on winners' overall college enrollment rate, which already exceeded 90%. Regression discontinuity estimates are larger than those from difference-in-difference specifications because winners with relatively low academic skill, and thus nearest the treatment threshold, reacted much more strongly to the price change than did highly skilled winners. Conditional on academic skill, low-income winners reacted similarly to their higher income peers, suggesting that previous research may have mistaken income heterogeneity for skill heterogeneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10-11 (October)
Pages: 2121-2131

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:2121-2131

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Financial aid Merit scholarships College costs Difference-in-difference Regression discontinuity;

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Cited by:
  1. Cohodes, Sarah & Goodman, Joshua, 2013. "Merit Aid, College Quality and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," Working Paper Series rwp13-005, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Sjoquist, David L. & Winters, John V., 2013. "State Merit-Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," IZA Discussion Papers 7381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Maria D. Fitzpatrick & Damon Jones, 2012. "Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration," NBER Working Papers 18530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Joydeep Roy, 2013. "Merit aid, student mobility, and the role of college selectivity," Staff Reports 641, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2010. "College Aid," NBER Chapters, in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 283-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gabrielle Fack & Julien Grenet, 2013. "Improving College Access and Success for Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Large Need-based Grant Program," Working Papers halshs-00870546, HAL.
  7. Gabrielle Fack & Julien Grenet, 2013. "Improving college access and success for low-income students: Evidence from a large need-based grant program," Economics Working Papers 1393, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Gabrielle Fack & Julien Grenet, 2013. "Improving College Access and Success for Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Large Need-based Grant Program," PSE Working Papers halshs-00870546, HAL.
  9. Sjoquist, David L. & Winters, John V., 2013. "The effects of HOPE on post-college retention in the Georgia workforce," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 479-490.
  10. Sjoquist, David L. & Winters, John V., 2012. "State Merit-based Financial Aid Programs and College Attainment," IZA Discussion Papers 6801, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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