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Away, but not too far from home. The effects of financial aid on university enrolment decisions

Author(s): 
Loris Vergolini,
Nadir Zanini
Abstract: 

This paper investigates the impact of an educational programme recently introduced in the Province of Trento (North-East of Italy) aimed at fostering university enrolment of students from low-income families and at reducing inequalities in access to higher education. The programme consists in generous incentives: it targets university students from low-income families and is awarded upon both merit and demonstrated financial need. We exploit data from a survey conducted on a sample of upper secondary graduates linked to administrative records and employ a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of the intervention on the university enrolment decisions. We find that the programme has no significant effect on enrolment rates, but it exerts a positive effect on redirecting students already bound for university to enrol outside the place of residence.

Keywords: 
Financial aid,
University enrolment,
Regression discontinuity,
Programme evaluation
JEL classification: 
C31, I23, I24, I28, I38
Journal: 
Economics of Education Review - (49) 2015
Date: 
October, 2015