Do Additional Dollars Buy Engagement? Effects of Monetary Incentives on Attending Financial Aid Counseling for at-Risk Students

15 Pages Posted: 1 May 2024

See all articles by James C. Cox

James C. Cox

Georgia State University

Daniel Kreisman

Georgia State University

Stephanie Shores Lambert

Georgia State University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 30, 2024

Abstract

During the COVID pandemic, many financially vulnerable students at Georgia State University (GSU) received money from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). With this money depleted, GSU administrators were concerned that GSU HEERF recipients would be at risk of dropping out. They wanted these students to receive financial counseling advising students about their options to successfully fund their education. However, uptake for similar counseling had historically been low. In this context, GSU planned to email HEERF fund recipients inviting them to attend financial counseling.

This paper reports on the results of an experiment that added to those emails randomized offers of monetary incentives for counseling attendance with the goal of measuring the degree to which monetary incentives increase counseling attendance. One-fifth of email recipients received an email with no monetary incentive to attend the counseling session. The remaining 80% received emails with monetary incentives that were randomized among 10 equal sized bins from $10 to $100. We analyze the results for 3,481 students who received these randomized email invitations.

Keywords: higher education, incentives, educational finance, experiment, household saving, borrowing, debt, wealth

JEL Classification: I23, O31, I22, C9, G51

Suggested Citation

Cox, James C. and Kreisman, Daniel and Shores Lambert, Stephanie, Do Additional Dollars Buy Engagement? Effects of Monetary Incentives on Attending Financial Aid Counseling for at-Risk Students (April 30, 2024). TIAA Institute Research Paper Series Issue No. 209, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4812167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4812167

James C. Cox (Contact Author)

Georgia State University

Daniel Kreisman

Georgia State University ( email )

Stephanie Shores Lambert

Georgia State University ( email )

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