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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. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "Earnings Functions And Rates Of Return," Working Papers 200831, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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  4. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
  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.
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  12. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2000. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Access to College and University: Does Distance Matter?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003201e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  19. J.B. Burbidge & L. Magee & A.L. Robb, 2001. "The Education Premium in Canada and the United States," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 364, McMaster University.
  20. 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.
  21. Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa A. Clark, 2006. "Financial Aid and Students’ College Decisions: Evidence from the District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Frenette, Marc, 2005. "Is Post-secondary Access More Equitable in Canada or the United States?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005244e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
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