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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Columbia University

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New NCPR Working Paper on Need-Based Financial Aid

Looking Beyond Enrollment: The Causal Effect of Need-Based Grants on College Access, Persistence, and Graduation (An NCPR Working Paper)

Benjamin L. Castleman and Bridget Terry Long

December 11, 2013

This paper examines the effects of the need-based Florida Student Access Grant (FSAG) using a regression-discontinuity strategy and exploiting the cutoff used to determine eligibility. The authors find that FSAG eligibility had a positive impact on a range of outcomes, including enrollment at public four-year universities, persistence to the spring of freshman year, credit accumulation within the first four years, and bachelor's degree receipt within six years. These findings provide policymakers with valuable information about the long-term benefits of public investments in need-based financial assistance for college and suggest that investments in need-based grant aid generate substantial private and social monetary benefits.

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