WWC review of this study

The role of application assistance and information in college decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA experiment.

Bettinger, E., Long, B., Oreopoulos, P., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2012). Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127(3), 1205–1242.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    8,506
     Students
    , grades
    12-PS
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: November 2013

Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Retention in college for 2 consecutive years following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

April 2008-Dec 2011

Dependents;
788 students

0.36

0.28

No

--
More Outcomes

Enrolled in college during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Dependents;
788 students

0.42

0.34

No

--

Enrolled in college during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Independents: No prior college;
8,506 students

0.12

0.1

No

--
Financial aid enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Independents: No prior college;
8,506 students

0.43

0.16

Yes

 
 
29
More Outcomes

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Independents: Prior college;
6,129 students

0.52

0.32

Yes

 
 
19

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Dependents;
788 students

0.56

0.4

Yes

 
 
15

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Posttest

Independents: Prior college;
3,561 students

0.35

0.32

No

--

Received Pell Grant while attending college during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Independents: Prior college;
6,129 students

0.23

0.21

No

--

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Year 1

Dependents;
478 students

0.37

0.4

No

--

Filed FAFSA during first year following experiment

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Assistance vs. Another intervention

Posttest

Independents: No prior college;
4,839 students

0.14

0.16

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 60%
    Male: 40%
  • Race
    Black
    16%
    White
    67%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    2%
    Not Hispanic
    98%
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    North Carolina, Ohio
 

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This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

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