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Subtraction by Addition: Do Private Scholarship Awards Lead to Financial Aid Displacement?

Award displacement occurs when one type of financial aid award directly contributes to the change in quantity of another award. We explore whether postsecondary institutions displaced awards in response to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship by capitalizing on the doubling of the maximum Promise amount in 2012. We use de-identified student-level data on each Promise recipient’s actual cost of attendance, grants, and scholarships, as well as demographic and academic characteristics from school district administrative files to examine whether and how components of students’ financial aid packages and total costs of attendance changed after the Promise award increase. To account for overall trends in pricing and financial aid, we compare Promise recipients to the average first-time, full-time freshman entering the same institutions in the same year as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). With these two data sources, we assess differences in costs and awards between Promise students and their peers, on average, and examine whether and in what ways these differences changed after the increase in Promise funding. We refer to this strategy as a “quasi-difference-in-differences” design. We do not find evidence that institutions are responding to the Promise increase through aid reductions.

educational finance, higher education, grants, student financial aid
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Lowry, Danielle, Lindsay C. Page, and Jennifer Iriti. (). Subtraction by Addition: Do Private Scholarship Awards Lead to Financial Aid Displacement?. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-549). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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