Why should financial aid affect university participation? A review of the literature

This contribution reviews the literature on the role of financial aid in enhancing university participation. This aim will be reached through three main steps. First, we describe a theoretical framework based on rational action theory that could explain the effects exerted by the different measures. Second, we analyse the main forms of financial aid developed by the policy makers in Europe and in the US. More precisely, we look at the role played by: grants, tuition fees, loans and a novel approach in the financial aid debate: asset building. The paper attempts to provide an overview of the different measures’ effects on enrolment, academic performance and completion. Third, based on the reviewed literature, the paper tries to derive some general policy implications for the Italian case.

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Publication number: Working paper 2019-03
Date: 5/2019
JEL Classification: A23, I22, H52
  • Financial aid
  • Asset building
  • University participation