Alex Schmidt

University of Wisconsin-Madison
8128 Social Science Bldg.
Madison, WI 53706

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Wisconsin-Madison

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020The Effects of Need-Based Financial Aid on Employment and Earnings: Experimental Evidence from the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars
with Deven E. Carlson, Sarah Souders, Barbara L. Wolfe: w27125
In this paper, we leverage the random assignment of a need-based financial aid grant offer—the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS) grant—and several sets of administrative records to provide experimental evidence on the effects of the grant offer on students’ in-state employment and earnings. For students in four-year universities, our results demonstrate significant employment reductions in the two years immediately following the aid offer as well as in the sixth, seventh, and eighth after receiving the randomized grant offer. We also find the aid offer to reduce these students’ in-state earnings throughout the full eight-year period we study. However, we show that the aid offer increases student grade point average, suggesting that the employment and earnings reductions during students’ i...
November 2019The Effects of Financial Aid Grant Offers on Postsecondary Educational Outcomes: New Experimental Evidence from the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars
with Deven E. Carlson, Felix Elwert, Nicholas Hillman, Barbara L. Wolfe: w26419
In this pre-registered study, we analyze the effects of need-based financial aid grant offers on the educational outcomes of low-income college students based on a large-scale randomized experiment (n=48,804). We find evidence that the grant offers increase two-year persistence by 1.7 percentage points among four-year college students. The estimated effect on six-year bachelor’s degree completion is of similar size—1.5 percentage points—but is not statistically significant. Among two-year students, we find positive—but not statistically significant—effects on persistence and bachelor’s degree completion (1.2 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively). We find little evidence that effects vary by cohort, race, gender or the prior receipt of food stamps. However, further exploratory results do...

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