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The Consequences of Merit Aid

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  • Dynarski, Susan

    (Harvard U)

Abstract

Since the early Nineties, a dozen states have established broad-based merit aid programs. The typical program waives tuition and fees at public colleges and universities in one’s home state. Unlike traditional merit programs, such as the National Merit Scholarship, this aid requires relatively modest academic performance and provide scholarships to hundreds of thousands of students. This paper examines how merit aid programs in seven states have affected an array of schooling decisions, paying particular attention to how the effects have varied by race and ethnicity. I find that the new programs typically increase the attendance probability of college-age youth by five to seven percentage points. The merit programs also shift students toward four-year schools and away from two-year schools. The Georgia HOPE Scholarship, which has been found to widen racial gaps in college attendance (Dynarski, 2000) is atypical in its distributional impact, with the other state’s programs tending to have a more positive effect on the college attendance rate of Blacks and Hispanics. I attribute HOPE’s unique distributional effect to its relatively stringent academic requirements and a recently-eliminated provision that channeled the most generous scholarships to higher-income students.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp02-051.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp02-051

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  1. Gary T. Henry & Ross Rubenstein, 2002. "Paying for grades: Impact of merit-based financial aid on educational quality," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 93-109.
  2. Rubenstein, Ross & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Who Pays and Who Benefits? Examining the Distributional Consequences of the Georgia Lottery for Education," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 2), pages 223-238, June.
  3. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
  4. Thomas S. Dee & Linda A. Jackson, 1999. "Who Loses HOPE? Attrition from Georgia’s College Scholarship Program," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 379-390, October.
  5. Kane, Thomas J, 1994. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of College Costs, Family Background, and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 878-911, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael J. Rizzo & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2003. "Resident and Nonresident Tuition and Enrollment at Flagship State Universities," NBER Working Papers 9516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kremer, Michael & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca & Ozier, Owen, 2005. "Incentives to learn," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3546, The World Bank.
  3. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Daniel W. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 3134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Long-term consequences of secondary school vouchers: Evidence from administrative records in colombia," Natural Field Experiments 00204, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Stephanie Riegg Cellini, 2010. "Financial aid and for-profit colleges: Does aid encourage entry?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 526-552.
  6. Joshua Angrist & Daniel Lang & Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 12790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.

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