The Impact of No-Loan Program Participation on the Likelihood of Graduate School Enrollment Among Low-Income, First-Generation Students

Education Finance and Policy / September 2020

Previous research shows that low-income and first-generation college students are less likely to obtain the benefits associated with attending graduate school. No-loan programs, which typically administer financial aid through institutional grants, are designed to improve access and success among students from low-income backgrounds, but we know very little about the influence of noloan programs after students enroll and eventually graduate from college. This study examines the impact of no-loan program participation on graduate school enrollment by leveraging a novel institutional dataset and employing regression discontinuity, difference-in-differences, and propensity score weighting approaches. Results indicate that no-loan program participation has a positive and relatively consistent impact on graduate school enrollment among low-income and first-generation students.