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Cost Should Be No Barrier: An Evaluation of the First Year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative

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  • Christopher Avery
  • Caroline Hoxby
  • Clement Jackson
  • Kaitlin Burek
  • Glenn Pope
  • Mridula Raman

Abstract

This paper evaluates the first year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative, which increased aid and recruiting for students from low income backgrounds. Using rich data from the Census and administrative sources, we estimate family incomes for the vast major of plausible applicants from the U.S. We find that the Initiative had a significant effect almost entirely because it attracted a pool of applicants that was larger and slightly poorer. It appears that very similar standards of admission were used for this group as had been used in previous years. This group, once admitted, enrolled at a rate very similar to that of previous years. Thus, there are a greater number of low income students in the Class of 2009 than in the Class of 2008 simply because more well-qualified, low income students applied. Many apparently qualified students still do not apply, and many of these "missing applicants" come from high schools that have little or no tradition of sending applications to selective private colleges. Targeted outreach to such "one offs" -- that is, students who are one of only a few qualified students from their school in recent years -- may be a way for selective private colleges to increase their income diversity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12029.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12029

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Cited by:
  1. Waddell, Glen R. & Singell, Larry D., 2009. "Do No-Loan Policies Change the Matriculation Patterns of Low-Income Students?," IZA Discussion Papers 4362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
  3. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2009. "Into College, Out of Poverty? Policies to Increase the Postsecondary Attainment of the Poor," NBER Working Papers 15387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Christopher Avery, 2010. "The Effects of College Counseling on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 16359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Caroline Hoxby & Sarah Turner, . "Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving, Low Income Students," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 12-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

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