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Experimental test of early tuition commitment increases low-income students’ college application and enrollment

A study published in the American Economic Review used a randomized controlled trial to test whether clarifying financial aid availability to low-income, high-achieving high school seniors alters their college application decisions. Partnering with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, researchers mailed information to about 2,000 Michigan students in 2015 and 2016. Students in half of the 500 schools selected for the study received mailers that encouraged them to apply to the University and committed to providing four years of free tuition for those admitted. Students in the other schools received no mailings. The authors found that the mailer increased the likelihood of applying to the university from 26 percent among controls to 68 percent among the treatment group, and the share enrolling from 12 percent to 27 percent. #education