Essays on the economics of student financial aid
Kofoed, Michael Stephens
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American higher education faces challenges with affordability given the recent volatility of endowments in the stock market and declining state subsidies. Given these circumstances, student financial aid has become an integral part of how students make college choices and whether they persist to graduation. This dissertation focuses on how scarce financial aid resources are distributed given student and institutional characteristics. In Chapter 1, I study the how financial aid is allocated in the ever-expanding for-profit higher education industry compared to traditional colleges. Chapter 2 focuses on which characteristics influence a current college student's decision to complete FAFSA and how much aid a non-applicant forgoes. Chapter 3 investigates how the amounts and sources of a student's financial aid package changes with fluctuations in the business cycle. These chapters should help economists and policy makers better understand how colleges distribute aid and the impacts it has on the cost of higher education.