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Jackpot? The impact of lottery scholarships on enrollment in Tennessee

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  • Bruce, Donald J.
  • Carruthers, Celeste K.

Abstract

We identify how the cost of college shapes high school graduates’ choice of college state and sector by exploiting discontinuous eligibility criteria for broad-based merit scholarships in Tennessee. For students whose ACT is a decisive factor in their scholarship eligibility, reductions in college cost result in substitution away from two-year community colleges in favor of four-year institutions. This pattern is more prominent among lower income students, and treatment effects are limited to a very local window around the qualifying threshold. We find no evidence that the scholarship affects college-going at the eligibility margin, little to no evidence of substitution between in-state and out-of-state colleges, and no evidence of substitution between public and private universities. Even so, results demonstrate that merit aid encompassing the middle of the ability spectrum can improve the quality of colleges students choose to attend.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce, Donald J. & Carruthers, Celeste K., 2014. "Jackpot? The impact of lottery scholarships on enrollment in Tennessee," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 30-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:81:y:2014:i:c:p:30-44
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2014.01.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Celeste K. Carruthers & Jilleah G. Welch, 2015. "Not Whether, but Where? Pell Grants and College Choices," Working Papers 2015-04, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics, revised 28 Sep 2015.
    2. David L. Sjoquist & John V. Winters, 2015. "State Merit Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 973-1006.
    3. Judith Scott-Clayton & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Financial Aid, Debt Management, and Socioeconomic Outcomes: Post-College Effects of Merit-Based Aid," NBER Working Papers 22574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9475-x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Hemelt, Steven W. & Ladd, Helen F., 2016. "Multifaceted Aid for Low-Income Students and College Outcomes: Evidence from North Carolina," IZA Discussion Papers 9888, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Welch, Jilleah G., 2014. "HOPE for community college students: The impact of merit aid on persistence, graduation, and earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-20.
    7. Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2015. "Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses," NBER Working Papers 21781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Carruthers, Celeste K. & Fox, William F., 2016. "Aid for all: College coaching, financial aid, and post-secondary persistence in Tennessee," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 97-112.
    9. Bifulco, Robert & Fletcher, Jason M. & Oh, Sun Jung & Ross, Stephen L., 2014. "Do high school peers have persistent effects on college attainment and other life outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 83-90.
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    13. Carruthers, Celeste K. & Özek, Umut, 2016. "Losing HOPE: Financial aid and the line between college and work," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-15.
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    17. Gregory B. Upton, 2016. "The Effects of Merit-Based Scholarships on Educational Outcomes," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 235-261, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education policy; Higher education; Financial aid;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare

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