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A Quasi-Experimental Estimate of the Impact of Financial Aid on College-Going

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  • Thomas J. Kane
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    Abstract

    Although state and federal governments heavily subsidize the price of college, estimates of the impact of these subsidies on college enrollment have not been well-identified. I use a regression discontinuity design to study the impact of the CalGrant program in California on college going. Eligibility requires students to meet minimum thresholds on three characteristics: income, assets and high school Grade Point Average. Because there are several dimensions of eligibility, the analysis allows for specification tests, estimating any discontinuities along a given dimension of eligibility, dependent upon whether one satisfied the other two dimensions of eligibility. The paper uses a novel data collection strategy to measure subsequent college enrollment for 150,000 financial aid applicants in 1998 and 1999. The results suggest large impacts (3 to 4 percentage points) of grant eligibility on college enrollment among financial aid applicants, with larger impacts on the choice of private four-year colleges in California.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9703.

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    Date of creation: May 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9703

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    1. 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.
    2. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
    3. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
    4. Dick, Andrew W. & Edlin, Aaron S., 1997. "The implicit taxes from college financial aid," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 295-322, September.
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