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How does aid matter? The effect of financial aid on university enrolment decisions

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  • Loris Vergolini

    ()
    (IRVAPP, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies)

  • Nadir Zanini

    ()
    (IRVAPP, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies)

Abstract

Using a counterfactual approach, this paper empirically investigates the impact of an educational programme recently introduced in the Province of Trento (North-East of Italy). The aim of the policy is to foster university enrolment of students from low-income families and to reduce inequalities in access to higher education. The programme, known as Grant 5B, consists in generous incentives: it targets the university students from low-income families and is awarded upon both merit and demonstrated financial need. We exploit data from an ad hoc survey conducted on a sample of upper secondary graduates and employ a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of the intervention on the university enrolment decisions. We find that the programme has no significant effect on enrolment rates, but it exerts a positive effect on redirecting students already bound for university to enrol outside the place of residence. Relying on the relative risk aversion theory, we explain why a relaxation of the eligibility rules based on merit might be more effective in reducing social inequalities in access to university.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2012/7.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/3/doc2012-7

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Keywords: Financial aid; university enrolment; regression discontinuity; programme evaluation;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. On the difficulty of targeting financial aid to students
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-05-03 14:51:00

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