Washington’s College Bound Scholarship Program and its Effect on College Entry, Persistence, and Completion

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Annenberg Institute at Brown University


Indiana, Oklahoma, and Washington have programs designed to address college enrollment and completion gaps by offering a promise of state-based college financial aid to low-income middle school students in exchange for making a pledge to do well in high school, be a good citizen, not be convicted of a felony, and apply for financial aid to college. Using a triple-difference specification, the authors find that Washington’s College Bound Scholarship shifted enrollment from out-of-state to in-state colleges at which the scholarship could be used. While they find suggestive evidence that the program increased the likelihood of attending a postsecondary institution and attaining a bachelor’s degree within five years of high school, they discuss why the program might be more successful if it did not require students to sign a pledge.



education, higher--government policy, educational attainment, academic achievement gap, student financial aid