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

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.

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File URL: http://economics.uwo.ca/epri/workingpapers_docs/wp2011/Belley_Frenette_Lochner_03.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute in its series University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers with number 20113.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:epuwoc:20113
Contact details of provider: Postal: Economic Policy Research Institute, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/epri_workingpapers.html

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  1. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2010. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Meta Brown & John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2010. "A New Test of Borrowing Constraints for Education," Working Papers 2011-003, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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  7. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20081, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zhao, John & Lipps, Garth & Corak, Miles, 2003. "Family Income and Participation in Post-secondary Education," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003210e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  10. Marc Frenette, 2004. "Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(4), pages 427-443, December.
  11. Kling, Jeffrey R, 2001. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 358-64, July.
  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. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
  14. Katharine G Abraham Melissa Clark, 2003. "Financial Aid and Students College Decisions Evidence from the District of Columbias Tuition Assistance Grant Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 328d6cb850c54baa8e93795d5, Mathematica Policy Research.
  15. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  16. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007295e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  17. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  18. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "Earnings Functions and Rates of Return," NBER Working Papers 13780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. McPherson, Michael S & Schapiro, Morton Owen, 1991. "Does Student Aid Affect College Enrollment? New Evidence on a Persistent Controversy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 309-18, March.
  21. Do, Chau, 2004. "The effects of local colleges on the quality of college attended," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 249-257, June.
  22. Susan Dynarski, 2000. "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," NBER Working Papers 7756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2010. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income: Comparing the U.S. and Canada," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20103, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  25. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  26. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. John Cawley & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Understanding the Role of Cognitive Ability in Accounting for the Recent Rise in the Economic Return to Education," NBER Working Papers 6388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2011. "The Effect of Liquid Housing Wealth on College Enrollment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 741 - 771.
  29. Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Access to College and University: Does Distance Matter?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003201e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  30. Thomas J. Kane, 2007. "Evaluating the Impact of the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  31. Thomas J. Kane, 2003. "A Quasi-Experimental Estimate of the Impact of Financial Aid on College-Going," NBER Working Papers 9703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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