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Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. and Canada: What Role for Financial Aid Policy?

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  • Philippe Belley
  • Marc Frenette
  • Lance Lochner

Abstract

This paper examines the implications of tuition and need-based financial aid policies for family income - post-secondary (PS) attendance relationships. We first conduct a parallel empirical analysis of the effects of parental income on PS attendance for recent high school cohorts in both the U.S. and Canada using data from the 1997 Cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and Youth in Transition Survey. We estimate substantially smaller PS attendance gaps by parental income in Canada relative to the U.S., even after controlling for family background, adolescent cognitive achievement, and local residence fixed effects. We next document that U.S. public tuition and financial aid policies are actually more generous to low-income youth than are Canadian policies. By contrast, Canada offers more generous aid to middle-class youth than does the U.S. These findings suggest that the much stronger family income - PS attendance relationship in the U.S. is not driven by differences in the need-based nature of financial aid policies. Based on previous estimates of the effects of tuition and aid on PS attendance, we consider how much stronger income - attendance relationships would be in the absence of need-based aid and how much additional aid would need to be offered to lower income families to eliminate existing income - attendance gaps entirely.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2011. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. and Canada: What Role for Financial Aid Policy?," NBER Working Papers 17218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17218
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2012. "Credit Constraints in Education," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 225-256, July.
    2. CASTRO, Rui & Poitevin, Michel, 2014. "Éducation et frais de scolarité," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 90(3), pages 223-262, Septembre.
    3. Nicholas Lawson, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Tuition Subsidies Optimal College Tuition Subsidies," AMSE Working Papers 1404, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 18 Mar 2014.
    4. Christopher Rauh, 2015. "The Political Economy of Early and College Education - Can Voting Bend the Great Gatsby Curve?," 2015 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Miles Corak, 2013. "Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 79-102, Summer.
    6. Christopher Herrington, 2013. "Public Education Financing Systems, Earnings Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," 2013 Meeting Papers 1233, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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