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Financial aid and for-profit colleges: Does aid encourage entry?

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  • Stephanie Riegg Cellini

    (Assistant Professor, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy Administration, George Washington University)

Abstract

Concerns over rising college tuition and slow economic growth have brought renewed attention to the role of federal and state financial aid programs in opening access to education. Despite a large body of literature examining the effects of grant aid on four-year and public two-year college enrollment, for-profit colleges-particularly the vast majority that offer two-year degrees and certificates-have largely been ignored. Using panel data methods and a new administrative data set of for-profit colleges operating in California between 1989 and 2003, I assess the impact of the federal Pell Grant program, the G.I. Bill, and California's Cal Grant program on the net number of for-profit colleges per county. The results suggest that for both Pell and Cal Grants, increases in the per-student maximum award encourage for-profit entry. This relationship is particularly strong in counties with high adult poverty levels, where more students are eligible for aid. Further, these gains in the private sector do not appear to come at the expense of the public sector. Rather, public community colleges also experience enrollment gains as the generosity of Pell and Cal Grants increases, although this reaction appears to be weaker than the reaction of for-profits. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Riegg Cellini, 2010. "Financial aid and for-profit colleges: Does aid encourage entry?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 526-552.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:3:p:526-552
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20508
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    3. David M. Linsenmeier & Harvey S. Rosen & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2006. "Financial Aid Packages and College Enrollment Decisions: An Econometric Case Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 126-145, February.
    4. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1984. "Optimal Financial Aid Policies for a Selective University," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 202-230.
    5. Susan Dynarski, 2002. "The Consequences of Merit Aid," NBER Working Papers 9400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Peter C. Reiss, 1987. "Do Entry Conditions Vary across Markets?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 833-882.
    7. Marcus Stanley, 2003. "College Education and the Midcentury GI Bills," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 671-708.
    8. Michael Rizzo & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2004. "Resident and Nonresident Tuition and Enrollment at Flagship State Universities," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 303-354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Darolia, Rajeev, 2013. "Integrity versus access? The effect of federal financial aid availability on postsecondary enrollment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 101-114.
    2. Rajeev Darolia & Cory Koedel & Paco Martorell & Katie Wilson & Francisco Perez‐Arce, 2015. "Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For‐Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(4), pages 881-903, September.
    3. Stephanie R. Cellini & Rajeev Darolia & Lesley J. Turner, 2020. "Where Do Students Go When For-Profit Colleges Lose Federal Aid?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 46-83, May.
    4. David J. Deming & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2012. "The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 139-164, Winter.
    5. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Sparber, Chad, 2014. "In-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and its impact on college enrollment, tuition costs, student financial aid, and indebtedness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 11-24.
    6. Cellini, Stephanie Riegg & Chaudhary, Latika, 2014. "The labor market returns to a for-profit college education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 125-140.
    7. Cellini, Stephanie Riegg, 2012. "For-Profit Higher Education: An Assessment of Costs and Benefits," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(1), pages 153-179, March.
    8. Rajeev Darolia, 2013. "Student Loan Repayment and College Accountability," Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers 13-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. Rajeev Darolia, 2015. "Messengers of Bad News or Bad Apples? Student Debt and College Accountability," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 277-299, March.
    10. Webber, Douglas A., 2017. "Risk-sharing and student loan policy: Consequences for students and institutions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-9.
    11. Luis Miguel Dos Santos, 2020. "How do for-Profit Colleges and Universities Maintain Enrolment Rates to continue their Financial Health," Journal of Education and e-Learning Research, Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, vol. 7(1), pages 69-75.
    12. Michael Kaganovich & Sinan Sarpca & Xuejuan Su, 2020. "Competition in Higher Education: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8220, CESifo.
    13. Jacqmin, Julien, 2014. "The Emergence of For-Profit Higher Education Institutions," MPRA Paper 59299, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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