Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration

Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration

Issue/Topic: Economic/Workforce Development; Postsecondary Affordability--Financial Aid
Author(s): Fitzpatrick, Maria; Jones, Damon
Organization(s): Cornell University; University of Chicago
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published On: 11/1/2012

Though policymakers develop merit aid programs to affect students' lifetime education and migration decisions, much of the literature has focused on the effect of receiving a grant on college enrollment and degree completion. Given that many states have created these programs to increase the educational attainment of the workforce, the impact of grants on personal mobility is a crucial, underresearched variable in evaluating the effectiveness of merit aid.

To investigate whether merit aid eligibility makes it more likely for residents to remain in the state in which they were born; to examine whether merit aid makes it more likely that a person obtains at least a baccalaureate degree.

Merit Aid and Migration Effects

Merit Aid, Degree Completion, and College Enrollment

Policy Implications/Recommendations:

Research Design:
A model that uses administrative financial aid data, Census, and American Community Survey Data to estimate the merit aid programs’ effects on residential mobility and educational attainment. The key element of the model is a behavioral variable—the probability that a person aged 24 to 32 was induced to change behavior because of their merit aid eligibility.

Sampling of 24 to 32 year olds living in the United States from 1990 to 2010.

Year data is from:
1990 to 2010


Data Collection and Analysis:
Administrative data from broad-based financial aid programs in 15 states. Census and American Community Survey data on 24 to 32 year olds living in the United States from 1990 to 2010.

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