Thursday, April 1, 2021 | 3:30-5:00 p.m. ET

The University Diversity & Social Transformation Professorship (UDSTP) both pays tribute to and builds upon the University of Michigan’s legacy of faculty commitment to, and achievement in, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This professorship was established to honor senior faculty who have throughout their careers demonstrated a commitment to the University’s ideals of DEI through their scholarship, teaching, and/or service and engagement.

Please join us for a virtual lecture as we honor and celebrate UDSTP awardee, Dr. Susan Dynarski. Her lecture is titled, "Understanding the Effect of the HAIL Scholarship on Student Decisions."

High-achieving, low-income students attend selective colleges at far lower rates than upper-income students with similar achievement. Behavioral biases, intensified by complexity and uncertainty in the admissions and aid process, may explain this gap. In a large-scale experiment, we test an early commitment of free tuition at a flagship university. The intervention did not increase aid: rather, students were guaranteed before application the same grant aid that they would qualify for in expectation if admitted. The offer substantially increased application (68 percent vs 26 percent) and enrollment rates (27 percent vs 12 percent). The results suggest that uncertainty, present bias, and loss aversion loom large in students’ college decisions.

Professor Dynarski’s career has focused on making education at all levels more accessible and more equitable, regardless of economic status. She is a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan, where she holds appointments at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education, Department of Economics and Institute for Social Research and serves as co-director of the Education Policy Initiative. She is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dynarski earned an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT.