WWC review of this study

Marginal effects of merit aid for low-income students. Working Paper 27834.

Angrist, J., Autor, D., & Pallais, A. (2020). National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED608519

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    6,485
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
College Degree Attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Attainment of any postsecondary degree within six years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected four-year college as their target school.;
2,233 students

76.20

70.80

Yes

 
 
7
 
More Outcomes

Attainment of any postsecondary degree within six years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected two-year college as their target school.;
395 students

79.80

77.70

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Attainment of bachelor's degree after six years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected four-year college as their target school.;
2,233 students

71.30

62.90

Yes

 
 
9

Attainment of bachelor's degree after six years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected two-year college as their target school.;
395 students

26.70

23.20

No

--

Attainment of an associate degree within 6 years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected two-year college as their target school.;
395 students

53.10

54.50

No

--

Attainment of an associate degree within 6 years

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Students in the 2012 and 2013 cohorts who selected four-year college as their target school.;
2,233 students

4.90

7.90

Yes

-12
 
 
College enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

college enrollment in any college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected four-year college as their target school.;
6,845 students

98.70

96.10

Yes

 
 
25
 
More Outcomes

college enrollment in any college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected two-year college as their target school.;
1,345 students

95.70

89.90

Yes

 
 
21
 
Show Supplemental Findings

College enrollment - 4 year college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected four-year college as their target school.;
6,845 students

93.70

83.10

Yes

 
 
25

College enrollment - 4 year college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected two-year college as their target school.;
1,345 students

9.80

6.00

Yes

 
 
13

College enrollment - 2 year college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected two-year college as their target school.;
1,345 students

84.40

83.70

No

--

College enrollment - 2 year college

Merit Aid vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students in all cohorts (2012-2016) who selected four-year college as their target school.;
6,845 students

2.80

9.50

Yes

-28
 
 


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 62%
    Male: 38%

  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Nebraska
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    6%
    Other or unknown
    24%
    White
    66%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    20%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    80%

Setting

The study was conducted with a sample of students attending public four-year and two-year colleges in Nebraska.

Study sample

The sample demographics are as follows: 66% White, 6% Black, 5% Asian, and 24% of another race. 62% were female, 20% were Hispanic, and 74% were eligible for a Pell Grant.

Intervention Group

The intervention is the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) program which offers scholarships on a competitive basis to qualified first-time freshmen in Nebraska who plan to attend a public college in Nebraska and who graduated from a high school in Nebraska. There are several eligibility requirements for participation in the program including: (1) students’ high school GPA must be at least 2.5; and (2) financial need is demonstrated based on the FAFSA expected family contribution. The scholarship funds are offered for up to five years and can be used for a variety of expenses in addition to tuition including books, room and board, transportation and personal expenses. Continued financial support requires that students maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition experience did not receive the STBF program scholarship but could participate in other financial aid programs.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

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

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top