Optimal Financial Aid Policies for a Selective University
AbstractRecent federal cut-backs of financial support for undergraduates have worsened the financial position of colleges and universities and required them to debate how they will allocate their scarce financial aid resources.Our paper contributes to the debate by providing a model of optimal financial aid policies for a selective university-one that has a sufficient number of qualified applicants that it can select which ones to accept and the type of financial aid package to offer each admitted applicant.The university is assumed to derive utility from "quality-units" of different categories (race, sex, ethnic status, income class, alumni relatives, etc.) of enrolled students. Average quality in a category declines with the number of applicants admitted and the fraction of admitted applicants who enroll increases with the financial aid package offered the category.The university maximizes utility subject to the constraint that its total subsidy of students (net tuition revenue less costs including financial aid)is just offset by a predetermined income flow from nonstudent sources (e.g.,endowment). The model implies that the financial aid package to be offered to each category of admitted applicants depends on the elasticity of the fraction who accept offers of admission with respect to the financial aid package offered them, the propensity of the category to enroll, the elasticity of the categorys average quality with respect to the number admitted, and the relative weight the university assigns in the utility function to applicants in the category.While the latter must be subjectively determined by university administrators, the former parameters are subject to empirical estimation.The paper concludes with a case study of one selective institution's dataand illustrates how they may be estimated. Based upon data from the university's admissions and financial aid files, as well as questionnaire data which ascertained what alternative college most admitted freshman applicants were considering and the financial aid packages at the alternative, probit probability of enrollment equations are estimated as are equations that determine how average quality varies with the number admitted for each category. These estimates are then applied to illustrate what the"optimal" financial aid policy would be for the university.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1014.
Date of creation: May 1984
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1984. "Optimal Financial Aid Policies for a Selective University," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 202-230.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.