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Looking Beyond Enrollment: The Causal Effect of Need-Based Grants on College Access, Persistence, and Graduation

  • Benjamin L. Castleman
  • Bridget Terry Long

The government has attempted to ameliorate gaps in college access and success by providing need-based grants, but little evidence exists on the long-term impacts of such aid. We examine the effects of the Florida Student Access Grant (FSAG) using a regression-discontinuity strategy and exploiting the cut-off used to determine eligibility. We find grant eligibility had a positive effect on attendance, particularly at public four-year institutions. Moreover, FSAG increased the rate of credit accumulation and bachelor’s degree completion within six years, with a 22 percent increase for students near the eligibility cutoff. The effects are robust to sensitivity analysis.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19306.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19306.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Publication status: Forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19306
Note: ED LS
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  1. Susan M. Dynarski, 1999. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," NBER Working Papers 7422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Susan Dynarski, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," NBER Working Papers 11604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
  5. Dynarski, Susan, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 629-62, September.
  6. Kevin Booker Tim Sass Brian Gill Ron Zimmer, 2008. "Going Beyond Test Scores Evaluating Charter School Impact on Educational Attainment in Chicago and Florida," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 0c525c84b96141a4925b9d3be, Mathematica Policy Research.
  7. Dynarski, Susan M. & Scott–Clayton, Judith E., 2006. "The Cost of Complexity in Federal Student Aid: Lessons from Optimal Tax Theory and Behavioral Economics," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(2), pages 319-56, June.
  8. Thomas Kane, 2004. "Evaluating the Impact of the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program," NBER Working Papers 10658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Daniel W. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 3134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Neil Seftor Sarah E Turner, 2002. "Back to School Federal Student Aid Policy and Adult College Enrollment," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 28f7ccb624fd4f2a9a20d7075, Mathematica Policy Research.
  11. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," NBER Working Papers 14726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2009. "How large are returns to schooling? Hint: Money isn't everything," NBER Working Papers 15339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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