Evaluating Post-Secondary Aid: Enrollment, Persistence, and Projected Completion Effects

Joshua Angrist, David Autor, Sally Hudson, Amanda Pallais

NBER Working Paper No. 23015
Issued in December 2016
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Labor Studies, Public Economics

This paper reports updated findings from a randomized evaluation of a generous, privately-funded scholarship program for Nebraska public college students. Scholarship offers boosted college enrollment and persistence. Four years after award receipt, randomly-selected scholarship winners were 13 percentage points more likely to be enrolled in college. Enrollment effects were larger for groups with historically low college attendance, including nonwhite students, first-generation college-goers, and students with low high school GPAs. Scholarships shifted many students from two- to four-year colleges, reducing associate’s degree completion in the process. Despite their substantial gains in four-year college enrollment, award winners from the first study cohort were slightly less likely to graduate on time than control applicants, suggesting that scholarships delay degree completion for some students. Projected graduation rates using the last cohort of pre-experimental scholarship applicants indicate that scholarships are likely to increase bachelor’s degree completion within five years.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Supplementary materials for this paper:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23015

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Angrist, Autor, Hudson, and Pallais w20800 Leveling Up: Early Results from a Randomized Evaluation of Post-Secondary Aid
Olivetti and Petrongolo w23051 The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries
Breining, Doyle, Figlio, Karbownik, and Roth w23038 Birth Order and Delinquency: Evidence from Denmark and Florida
Bursztyn, Fujiwara, and Pallais w23043 'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments
Acevedo, Cruces, Gertler, and Martinez w23264 Living Up to Expectations: How Job Training Made Women Better Off and Men Worse Off
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us