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Who merits financial aid?: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship

Listed author(s):
  • Goodman, Joshua

Most states now fund merit-based financial aid programs, the effects of which depend on how strongly students react to changes in college costs. I estimate such reactions using quasi-experimental aspects of a recent Massachusetts merit scholarship program intended to attract talented students to the state's public colleges. Despite its small monetary value, the Adams Scholarship induced 6% of winners to choose four-year public colleges instead of four-year private colleges, suggesting an elasticity of demand for public college enrollment above unity. Nonetheless, most funds flowed to students who would have enrolled in public colleges absent the scholarship and the aid had no effect on winners' overall college enrollment rate, which already exceeded 90%. Regression discontinuity estimates are larger than those from difference-in-difference specifications because winners with relatively low academic skill, and thus nearest the treatment threshold, reacted much more strongly to the price change than did highly skilled winners. Conditional on academic skill, low-income winners reacted similarly to their higher income peers, suggesting that previous research may have mistaken income heterogeneity for skill heterogeneity.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(08)00061-3
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10-11 (October)
Pages: 2121-2131

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:2121-2131
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. 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(3), pages 629-662, September.
  2. Neil S. Seftor & NSarah E. Turner, 2002. "Back to School: Federal Student Aid Policy and Adult College Enrollment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 336-352.
  3. 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.
  4. Susan Dynarski, 2004. "The New Merit Aid," NBER Chapters,in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 63-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:mpr:mprres:3250 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 431-497, 03.
  7. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  8. 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.
  9. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
  10. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2002. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 784-815, October.
  11. Thomas J. Kane, 2003. "A Quasi-Experimental Estimate of the Impact of Financial Aid on College-Going," NBER Working Papers 9703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Susan Dynarski, 2002. "The Behavioral and Distributional Implications of Aid for College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 279-285, May.
  13. Ham, John C. & LaLonde, Robert J., 2005. "Special issue on Experimental and non-experimental evaluation of economic policy and models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 1-13.
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