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Financial Aid, College Decision Making, and Mobility

Description of research project:

This project seeks to understand if and how changes in financial aid policies effect intergenerational mobility. Intergenerational mobility in this context refers to the income differences between parents and their children. The concept that children can achieve higher socio-economic status than their parents or “upward mobility” is a salient American ideology. Education is often cited as an avenue to achieve “upward mobility.” Financial aid policies can influence access to higher education as well as potentially influence college related decisions such as university choice and major.


Beginning in the 1990’s several states introduced changes to state level financial aid policies, moving away from need-based aid to merit aid. Our project will examine the impact of these changes on intergenerational mobility.


Description of work that will be assigned to research assistants:

Research assistants will provide assistance with data collection, literature review, and data management. They may also assist with early-stage, descriptive data analysis. Knowledge of Stata or other statistical programs is not required but may be useful. Dependent upon student interest, I will lead discussions on relevant literature and preliminary findings. Financial aid policy and mobility research are important topics within the social sciences as well as education and public policy. This project will allow students to learn across disciplines and develop useful research and data management skills.


Supervising Faculty Member: Deirdre Bloome


Graduate Student: Shauna Dyer


Contact information: sldyer@umich.edu


Average hours of work per week: 3-9


Range of credit hours students can earn: 1-3


Number of positions available: 2