Enrollment at Highly Selective Private Colleges: Who is Left Behind?

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 Last revised: 11 Oct 2008

See all articles by Hashem Dezhbakhsh

Hashem Dezhbakhsh

Emory University - Department of Economics

John A. Karikari

US Government Accountability Office (GAO)

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This study examines the enrollment decisions of freshmen applicants to highly selective private colleges relative to highly selective public colleges. The empirical analysis shows that college enrollment varies by family income--in particular, low income students with demonstrated financial need are less likely to enroll at private colleges, controlling for other factors including race and financial aid. Grant aid tends to have a moderating effect but the amount of aid under the existing college pricing and financial aid system appears to be inadequate. This finding provides support for recent revamping of financial aid offerings to low income students by some highly selective private colleges. In addition, the results suggest that while family income appears to be a strong determinant of enrollment at these colleges, race does not seem to play a role.

Forthcoming: Contemporary Economic Policy

Keywords: Higher education, selective private colleges, enrollment, financial aid

JEL Classification: I21

Suggested Citation

Dezhbakhsh, Hashem and Karikari, John A., Enrollment at Highly Selective Private Colleges: Who is Left Behind?. Contemporary Economic Policy, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1216982

Hashem Dezhbakhsh

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

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John A. Karikari (Contact Author)

US Government Accountability Office (GAO) ( email )

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