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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

NBER Working Paper No. 19306
Issued in August 2013, Revised in September 2015
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Labor Studies

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19306

Forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics citation courtesy of

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