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Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid

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  • Mark Colas
  • Sebastian Findeisen
  • Dominik Sachs

Abstract

We study the optimal design of student financial aid as a function of parental income. We derive optimal financial aid formulas in a general model. We estimate a model of selection into college for the United States that comprises multidimensional heterogeneity, endogenous parental transfers, dropout, labor supply in college, and uncertain returns. We quantify optimal financial aid in the estimated model and find it is strongly declining in parental income even without distributional concerns. Equity and efficiency go hand in hand.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Colas & Sebastian Findeisen & Dominik Sachs, 2021. "Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(2), pages 492-533.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/711952
    DOI: 10.1086/711952
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhifeng Cai & Jonathan Heathcote, 2018. "College Tuition and Income Inequality," Staff Report 569, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Kristy Fan & Tyler J. Fisher & Andrew A. Samwick, 2021. "The Insurance Value of Financial Aid," NBER Working Papers 28669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Winfried Koeniger & Julien Prat, 2018. "Human Capital and Optimal Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 1-26, January.
    4. Youngmin Park, 2018. "Inequality in Parental Transfers, Borrowing Constraints, and Optimal Higher Education Subsidies," 2018 Meeting Papers 623, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Arenas, Andreu & Malgouyres, Clément, 2018. "Countercyclical school attainment and intergenerational mobility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 97-111.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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