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Cost Should Be No Barrier: An Evaluation of the First Year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Avery
  • Caroline Hoxby
  • Clement Jackson
  • Kaitlin Burek
  • Glenn Pope
  • Mridula Raman

Abstract

This paper evaluates the first year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative, which increased aid and recruiting for students from low income backgrounds. Using rich data from the Census and administrative sources, we estimate family incomes for the vast major of plausible applicants from the U.S. We find that the Initiative had a significant effect almost entirely because it attracted a pool of applicants that was larger and slightly poorer. It appears that very similar standards of admission were used for this group as had been used in previous years. This group, once admitted, enrolled at a rate very similar to that of previous years. Thus, there are a greater number of low income students in the Class of 2009 than in the Class of 2008 simply because more well-qualified, low income students applied. Many apparently qualified students still do not apply, and many of these "missing applicants" come from high schools that have little or no tradition of sending applications to selective private colleges. Targeted outreach to such "one offs" -- that is, students who are one of only a few qualified students from their school in recent years -- may be a way for selective private colleges to increase their income diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Avery & Caroline Hoxby & Clement Jackson & Kaitlin Burek & Glenn Pope & Mridula Raman, 2006. "Cost Should Be No Barrier: An Evaluation of the First Year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative," NBER Working Papers 12029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12029
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    Cited by:

    1. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2009. "Into College, Out of Poverty? Policies to Increase the Postsecondary Attainment of the Poor," NBER Working Papers 15387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner & Danny Yagan, 2017. "Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 2017-059, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2010. "College Aid," NBER Chapters,in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 283-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Juliana Londoño-Velez & Catherine Rodriguez & Fabio Sánchez?, 2017. "The Intended and Unintended Impacts of a Merit-Based Financial Aid Program for the Poor: The Case of Ser Pilo Paga," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015466, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Caroline Hoxby & Sarah Turner, "undated". "Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving, Low Income Students," Discussion Papers 12-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    6. Waddell, Glen R. & Singell Jr., Larry D., 2011. "Do no-loan policies change the matriculation patterns of low-income students?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 203-214, April.
    7. Li Chen & Juan Sebastian Pereyra Barreiro, 2015. "Self-Selection in School Choice," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2015-52, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. repec:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9443-x is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2016. "Do Schools Matter for High Math Achievement? Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1244-1277, June.
    10. Christopher Avery, 2010. "The Effects of College Counseling on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 16359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Shomon Shamsuddin, 2016. "Berkeley or Bust? Estimating the Causal Effect of College Selectivity on Bachelor’s Degree Completion," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(7), pages 795-822, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise

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