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

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Author Info

  • David L. Sjoquist

    ()
    (Georgia State University)

  • John V. Winters

    ()
    (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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File URL: http://spears.okstate.edu/ecls-working-papers/files/OKSWPS1406.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 1406.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:okl:wpaper:1406

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Web page: http://spears.okstate.edu/ecls-working-papers/
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Related research

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

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References

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  1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. 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).
  8. Winters, John V., 2012. "Cohort crowding and nonresident college enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 30-40.
  9. 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.
  10. Julian R. Betts & Darlene Morell, 1999. "The Determinants of Undergraduate Grade Point Average: The Relative Importance of Family Background, High School Resources, and Peer Group Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 268-293.
  11. Joshua Goodman, 2007. "Who merits financial aid? Massachusetts? Adams scholarship," Discussion Papers 0607-13, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  12. V. Joseph Hotz & Peter Arcidiacono & Songman Kang, 2010. "Modeling College Major Choices Using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals," Working Papers 10-30, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  13. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  14. Jesse Rothstein & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2007. "Constrained After College: Student Loans and Early Career Occupational Choices," NBER Working Papers 13117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  17. 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.
  18. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," NBER Working Papers 16869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Bradley, Elizabeth S., 2012. "The Effect of the Business Cycle on Freshman Major Choice," MPRA Paper 42412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. 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.

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