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The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile
Last registered on March 13, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001196
Initial registration date
March 13, 2017
Last updated
March 13, 2017 11:08 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Dartmouth College
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2013-07-01
End date
2015-12-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Schools that provide higher education often belong to either a merit-based selective system or an open-access less selective system. Because spaces in the selective system tend to be rationed and contingent on a lifetime of academic preparation, improved access to higher education may be more quickly achieved through interventions relevant to the less selective system. We present the results of a field experiment that provided Grade 12 students in Chile with tailored information about financial aid and average earnings for schools and careers in both types of schools. Treated students are more likely to apply to and enroll in higher education. Effects are concentrated among students who must choose from schools in the less selective system. Treated students choose careers and schools with lower expected wages, lower employment probabilities, and lower quality, but offering shorter degree programs with lower tuition.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Busso, Matias et al. 2017. "The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile." AEA RCT Registry. March 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1196-1.0.
Former Citation
Busso, Matias et al. 2017. "The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile." AEA RCT Registry. March 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1196/history/14914.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
(1) Control group: The control group received one email inviting them to learn about possible careers at www.eligecarrera.cl. This publicly accessible official website contains general information on types of careers, loans and scholarships available at different schools, eligibility criteria for these programs and financing options. Students in the treatment group also received a link to the same website in their treatment emails.

(2) Financial Aid treatment: We presented all treatment students with information about general types of financial aid and specific financial aid linked to their baseline preferences or background characteristics. PUC volunteers searched for this personalized information on loans and scholarships in the public and private sector.

(3) Returns treatment: To construct information for the Returns Treatment, we gathered data from the publicly accessible MiFuturo database (www.MiFuturo.cl) of 2013. This database reports average monthly earnings and average employability rates for recent graduates of specific career-school programs.

* Half of the students in the Financial Aid treatment were randomized into receiving the Returns Treatment.
Intervention Start Date
2013-10-01
Intervention End Date
2014-01-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Access to higher education variables (application to a selective school, acceptance into a selective school, enrollment in a selective school, enrollment in any higher education), variables on the quality of school of enrollment (average wage returns for the career- school, average employability, and years of accreditation), and cost of enrollment variables (annual tuition and program duration).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We worked with a Chilean NGO, Por Una Carrera (PUC), to visit over 300 school career fairs in the greater Santiago region between July 2013 and November 2013. At the PUC booths, we collected over 10,000 emails from Grade 12 students, along with their preferences about post- secondary careers and institutions. We invited students to participate in our study by sending them a web link to our baseline survey; respondents had two weeks to complete the online survey. We stratified the sample using baseline information on gender and on whether a student’s parents had completed any tertiary education, or not, or had missing education information. Between October and December 2013, we randomized students into an information treatment and control group on a rolling basis, following a re-randomization protocol to maintain cumulative balance in the combined sample. All treated students received the Financial Aid Treatment: information about financial aid possibilities tailored to their baseline career-school preferences. Half of the treated students also received a Returns Treatment: information about expected returns related to their baseline preferences.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer; re-randomization procedure described in text.
Randomization Unit
Students (grade 12)
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A no cluster
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,727 Grade 12 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 556 students
Financial Aid Treatment: 553
Financial Aid and Returns Treatment: 559
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
January 31, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
January 31, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
N/A no cluster
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Compliance was high in each of the treatment groups, but take-up was low. We exclude 59 students who fail to graduate from our final analysis sample of 1,668 students.
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No

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Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
Schools that provide higher education often belong to either a merit-based selective system or an open-access less selective system. This paper presents the results of a field experiment that provided Grade 12 students in Chile with tailored information about financial aid and average earnings and employment probabilities for schools and careers in both types of schools. No effect is found on the extensive margins of enrollment in the selective or in the less selective sector. Treated students change their intensive margin decisions: they choose careers and schools with lower expected wages and lower employment probabilities, but with higher quality relative to their baseline preferences.
Citation
Busso, Martias, Taryn Dinkelman, Claudio A. Martinez, Dario Romero. "The Effects of Financial Aid and Returns Information in Selective and less Selective Schools: Experimental Evidence from Chile." IDB Working Paper Nº IDB-WP-743, November 2016.