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The Effect of Federal Grants on Student Outcomes

Ian Fillmore () and Sean McMahon
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Ian Fillmore: Washington University in St. Louis
Sean McMahon: Analysis Group

No 2022-011, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: Federal financial aid depends on a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC)--the higher her EFC, the less aid a student receives. We estimate the effect of increasing federal aid on student outcomes by leveraging an increase in the income threshold for an "automatic zero EFC," which qualifies students for the most generous federal aid. We find little evidence that expanding eligibility for an automatic zero EFC affected student outcomes. We argue this may be due to the volatility of federal aid from year to year and highlight this as an important dimension for future research.

Keywords: financial aid; Expected Family Contribution; EFC; volatility of federal aid (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H52 H81 I22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-04
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