Propelled: The Effects of Grants on Graduation, Earnings, and Welfare
41 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017 Last revised: 12 Sep 2021
Date Written: September 2017
We estimate effects of the largest U.S. federal grant for college students using administrative data from Texas four-year public colleges and a discontinuity in grant generosity. Eligibility for additional grant aid significantly increases degree receipt and earnings beginning four years after entry. Estimated increases in income tax payments fully recoup government expenditures within ten years. A theoretical model shows that welfare effects of changes in college prices depend on (1) externalities from recipients’ behavioral responses and (2) facilitation of intertemporal consumption smoothing. Calibration suggests that increasing grant aid for low-income college students would enhance welfare in many U.S. settings.
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