ERIC Number: EJ1067974
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
The Effect of Merit Aid on Enrollment: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Iowa's National Scholars Award
Leeds, Daniel M.; DesJardins, Stephen L.
Research in Higher Education, v56 n5 p471-495 Aug 2015
The cost of attending college has risen steadily over the past 30 years, making financial aid an important determinant of college choice for many students and a subject of concern for colleges and state governments. In this paper, we estimate the effect of rule-based merit aid assignment on students' enrollment decisions at the University of Iowa. Iowa evaluates many students using an admissions score comprised of high school grade point average and class rank, core high school courses, and one's ACT test score. Students from out-of-state who meet a specific threshold score qualify for the National Scholars Award (NSA), presently worth nearly $20,000 over 4 years. We employ a regression discontinuity model to take advantage of award assignment criteria, finding that the award does increase the probability of enrollment at Iowa. This result is robust for several applicant subsamples and passes falsification checks using Iowa residents, who are ineligible for the award. Preliminary analysis of an earlier, tiered version of the currently single-valued award suggests that the NSA may have strong effects on very high-achieving candidates.
Descriptors: Awards, Enrollment Influences, Merit Scholarships, Regression (Statistics), College Choice, Admission Criteria, Grade Point Average, Class Rank, Scores, Eligibility, Probability, Paying for College, State Aid, Student Financial Aid, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A