A Boost for the Middle Class

An Evaluation of No-Loan Policies and Elite Private College Enrollment

Kelly Rosinger, Andrew S. Belasco, James C. Hearn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In response to goals of expanding access as well as public pressure to leverage substantial endowment resources toward increasing affordability, numerous elite colleges have enacted policies aimed at improving access and affordability by replacing student loans with grants in financial aid packages. No-loan policies, however, differ in the extent to which they expand affordability: Some policies offer a universal discount by replacing loans with grants for all aid-eligible students, while others offer narrowly targeted discounts to students based on income, Pell Grant eligibility status, or another means-tested threshold. We leveraged newly available Equality of Opportunity Project Mobility Report Card data and a difference-in-differences design using unweighted and weighted comparison groups to examine the relationship between adoption of universal and targeted no-loan policies and economic diversity at elite colleges. We found that colleges offering universal discounts experienced increased enrollment among middle-class students. Our study indicates universal no-loan policies represent one strategy to increase access and affordability for the middle-class in the elite reaches of higher education. The study also, however, raises questions about the policies’ effectiveness in addressing access for low-income students and efficiency in targeting aid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-55
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

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loan
middle class
elite
grant
evaluation
student
financial aid
equality
low income
income
efficiency
resources
economics
education
Group

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Cite this

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A Boost for the Middle Class : An Evaluation of No-Loan Policies and Elite Private College Enrollment. / Rosinger, Kelly; Belasco, Andrew S.; Hearn, James C.

In: Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 90, No. 1, 02.01.2019, p. 27-55.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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