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Tuition Fees, Student Finances, and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Differential Raise in Fees

Hans Fricke

Journal of Human Capital, 2018, vol. 12, issue 3, 504 - 541

Abstract: This study analyzes the effects of an increase in the cost of going to college on student finances and achievement. It exploits a unique policy change at a Swiss university whereby students faced an unexpected increase in tuition fees. This increase differed across students. The study uses this variation in a difference-in-differences strategy to identify and estimate the causal effect of the differential increase in fees. Results based on survey data suggest that students compensate for the increase in fees with a reduction in consumption spending. In line with this finding, the estimated effects on on-time graduation, credits earned, and grades, based on data from administrative student records, are close to zero and insignificant.

Date: 2018
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