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Student Responses to Merit Scholarship Retention Rules

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  • Christopher M. Cornwell
  • Kyung Hee Lee
  • David B. Mustard

Abstract

A common justification for state-sponsored merit scholarships like Georgia’s HOPE program is to promote academic achievement. However, grade-based retention rules encourage other behavioral responses. Using longitudinal records of enrolled undergraduates at the University of Georgia between 1989 and 1997, we estimate the effects of HOPE on course-taking, treating nonresidents as a control group. First, we find that HOPE decreased full-load enrollments and increased course withdrawals among resident freshmen. Second, the scholarship’s influence on course-taking behavior is concentrated on students whose predicted freshmen GPAs place them on or below the scholarship-retention margin. Third, HOPE substantially increased summer school credits.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:40:y:2005:i:4:p:895-917
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Cornwell, Christopher & Lee, Kyung Hee & Mustard, David B., 2003. "The Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid on Course Enrollment, Withdrawal and Completion in College," IZA Discussion Papers 820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-991, October.
    5. Christopher M. Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa Sridhar, 2005. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Scholarship," HEW 0501002, EconWPA.
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