Category: <span>Working Papers</span>

The Color of Student Debt: Implications of Federal Loan Program Reforms for Black Students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

In this paper, we explain why discussions must take into account a critical issue conspicuously absent from most public debate about reforming higher education financing, and student loans in particular: There is a substantial racial disparity in families’ need to borrow for college, such that black students depend much more heavily on access to loans than white families, and leave college with a great deal more in student loan debt than their white counterparts.

Seeking STEM: The Causal Impact of Need-Based Grant Aid on Undergraduates Field of Study.

This paper draws on a randomized experiment to investigate an alternative explanation related to resource constraints. Findings indicate that university students from low-income families who were offered additional need-based grant aid were 7.87 percentage points more likely to declare a STEM major than similar peers, representing a 42% increase.