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Scholarships and student effort: Evidence from Colombia’s Ser Pilo Paga program

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  • Bernal, Gloria L.
  • Penney, Jeffrey

Abstract

Launched in 2014, Colombia’s Ser Pilo Paga program aimed to increase college enrollment for low income students by providing 10,000 means-tested scholarships annually to the highest performers on the country’s high school exit exam. We theorize that the introduction of the scholarship incentivized these students to better prepare for this exam. Exploiting the SES thresholds for eligibility using a regression discontinuity design, we find that students who qualify for the scholarship score about 0.09 test score standard deviations higher than those who do not. We also find that the program increased the representation of the poorest students in the top 9% of test takers. Survey evidence suggests that students spent more time and money preparing for the test.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernal, Gloria L. & Penney, Jeffrey, 2019. "Scholarships and student effort: Evidence from Colombia’s Ser Pilo Paga program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 121-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:72:y:2019:i:c:p:121-130
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2019.04.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colombia; Effort; Scholarships; Ser Pilo Paga; Test scores;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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