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The Long Run Impacts of Merit Aid: Evidence from California’s Cal Grant

Author

Listed:
  • Eric Bettinger
  • Oded Gurantz
  • Laura Kawano
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

We examine the long-term impacts of California’s state-based financial aid by tracking students’ educational and labor force outcomes for up to 14 years after high school graduation. We identify program impacts by exploiting variation in eligibility rules using GPA and family income cutoffs that are ex ante unknown to applicants. Aid eligibility increases undergraduate and graduate degree completion, and for some subgroups, raises longer-run annual earnings and the likelihood that young adults reside in California. Aid eligibility has no impact on take-up of the Pell or federal tax credits for higher education. These findings suggest that the net cost of financial aid programs may frequently be overstated, though our results are too imprecise to provide exact cost-benefit estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Bettinger & Oded Gurantz & Laura Kawano & Bruce Sacerdote, 2016. "The Long Run Impacts of Merit Aid: Evidence from California’s Cal Grant," NBER Working Papers 22347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22347
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott-Clayton, Judith & Zafar, Basit, 2019. "Financial aid, debt management, and socioeconomic outcomes: Post-college effects of merit-based aid," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 68-82.
    2. Martin Gervais & Nicolas L. Ziebarth, 2019. "Life After Debt: Postgraduation Consequences Of Federal Student Loans," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(3), pages 1342-1366, July.
    3. Murphy, Richard & Wyness, Gill, 2015. "Testing means-tested aid," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66060, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Sarena F. Goodman & Adam Isen & Constantine Yannelis, 2018. "A Day Late and a Dollar Short : Liquidity and Household Formation among Student Borrowers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-025, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Jeffrey T. Denning & Benjamin M. Marx & Lesley J. Turner, 2019. "ProPelled: The Effects of Grants on Graduation, Earnings, and Welfare," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 193-224, July.
    6. Goodman, Sarena & Isen, Adam & Yannelis, Constantine, 2021. "A day late and a dollar short: Liquidity and household formation among student borrowers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(3), pages 1301-1323.
    7. Juliana Londono-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 – Facultad de Economía – CEDE.
    8. Matthew Birch & Robert Rosenman, 2019. "How Much Does Merit Aid Actually Matter? Revisiting Merit Aid and College Enrollment When Some Students “Come Anyway”," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 60(6), pages 760-802, September.
    9. Jeffrey T. Denning, 2019. "Born under a Lucky Star: Financial Aid, College Completion, Labor Supply, and Credit Constraints," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(3), pages 760-784.
    10. Alvaro Mezza & Daniel R. Ringo & Shane M. Sherlund & Kamila Sommer, 2016. "Student Loans and Homeownership," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Chandler, Vincent, 2018. "Short and long-term impacts of an increase in graduate funding," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 104-112.
    12. John V. Winters, 2020. "In-State College Enrollment and Later Life Location Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(4), pages 1400-1426.
    13. Dennis A. Kramer & Justin C. Ortagus & T. Austin Lacy, 2018. "Tuition-Setting Authority and Broad-Based Merit Aid: The Effect of Policy Intersection on Pricing Strategies," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(4), pages 489-518, June.
    14. Sarena Goodman & Alice Henriques Volz, 2020. "Attendance Spillovers between Public and For-Profit Colleges: Evidence from Statewide Variation in Appropriations for Higher Education," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(3), pages 428-456, Summer.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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