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State Merit-Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM

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  • Sjoquist, David L.

    ()
    (Georgia State University)

  • Winters, John V.

    ()
    (Oklahoma State University)

Abstract

Since 1991 more than two dozen states have adopted merit-based student financial aid programs, intended at least in part to increase the stock of human capital by improving the knowledge and skills of the state's workforce. At the same time, there has been growing concern that the U.S. is producing too few college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Using both microdata from the American Community Survey and student records from the University System of Georgia, this paper examines whether recently adopted state merit-aid programs have affected college major decisions, with a focus on STEM fields. We find consistent evidence that state merit programs did in fact reduce the likelihood that a young person in the state will earn a STEM degree.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7381.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7381

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Keywords: college major; HOPE scholarship; merit aid; STEM;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Peter Arcidiacono & V. Joseph Hotz & Songman Kang, 2010. "Modeling College Major Choices using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals," NBER Working Papers 15729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2013. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," CEP Discussion Papers dp1223, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Beffy, Magali & Fougère, Denis & Maurel, Arnaud, 2009. "Choosing the Field of Study in Post-Secondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 4127, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.
  7. Goodman, Joshua, 2008. "Who merits financial aid?: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2121-2131, October.
  8. Kokkelenberg, Edward C. & Sinha, Esha, 2010. "Who succeeds in STEM studies? An analysis of Binghamton University undergraduate students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 935-946, December.
  9. Rothstein, Jesse & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2011. "Constrained after college: Student loans and early-career occupational choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-163, February.
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  11. Cornwell, Christopher & Lee, Kyung Hee & Mustard, David B., 2006. "The Effects of State-Sponsored Merit Scholarships on Course Selection and Major Choice in College," IZA Discussion Papers 1953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 629-62, September.
  14. Mark C. Berger, 1988. "Predicted future earnings and choice of college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 418-429, April.
  15. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20111, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  16. Susan Dynarski, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," NBER Working Papers 7756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  19. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Ken Spenner, 2012. "What happens after enrollment? An analysis of the time path of racial differences in GPA and major choice," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
  20. Bradley, Elizabeth S., 2012. "The Effect of the Business Cycle on Freshman Major Choice," MPRA Paper 42412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Judith Scott-Clayton, 2011. "On Money and Motivation: A Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Financial Incentives for College Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 614-646.
  22. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  23. Christopher M. Cornwell & Kyung Hee Lee & David B. Mustard, 2005. "Student Responses to Merit Scholarship Retention Rules," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 895-917.
  24. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa J. Sridhar, 2006. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
  25. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  26. Larry D. Singell Jr. & Glen R. Waddell & Bradley R. Curs, 2006. "HOPE for the Pell? Institutional Effects in the Intersection of Merit-Based and Need-Based Aid," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 79–99, July.
  27. 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.
  28. Winters, John V., 2012. "Cohort crowding and nonresident college enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 30-40.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2013. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 18799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Winters, John V., 2013. "STEM Graduates, Human Capital Externalities, and Wages in the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 7830, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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