ACHAB - Affording College with the Help of Asset Building

ACHAB aims at assessing the effectiveness of a promising but thus far scarcely tested policy instrument: an asset building programme intended to facilitate access to tertiary education among high school students from lower classes families. The programme requires that families start saving a certain amount of money while their children are attending the last two years of high schools (grades 12 and 13). The programme provides a strong monetary incentive according to which each euro saved is multiplied by four, with the crucial restriction that the resulting balance is only spent for documented university-related expenses after the children have successfully completed high school. To assess the effectiveness of the programme, a randomized field trial is performed. The experiment is carried out in the province of Turin (Italy) in school years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 and involves 770 students (300 of which are randomly assigned to the treatment group). Among all applicants, those that were expected to be less sensitive to the monetary incentive (i.e., those students with very high and very low probability to enrol at the university) were not considered eligible. Because the programme combines an active involvement of families and a strong conditionality on the use of the grants, the results of ACHAB—if the programme will turn out to be (cost-)effective—may contribute to improving public policies in this field. ACHAB is a project funded by the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission through the Progress Programme – Call for proposals for social policy experimentations supporting social investments (VP/2013/012). ACHAB involves the following partners: Ufficio Scolastico Regionale del Piemonte, Ufficio Pio – Compagnia di San Paolo, ASVAPP and FBK-IRVAPP, Istituto Tecnico Industriale Pininfarina.

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Date: From 2014 to 2017