Type: Public event

Susan Dynarski: University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor Lecture

Understanding the Effect of the HAIL Scholarship on Student Decisions

Date & time

Apr 1, 2021, 3:30-5:00 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Free and open to the public. Register to attend

The University Diversity & Social Transformation Professorship both pays tribute to and builds upon the University of Michigan’s legacy of faculty commitment to, and achievement in, diversity, equity and inclusion. 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.

Professor Dynarski was named one of nine inaugural recipients of the University of Michigan Distinguished Diversity & Social Transformation Professorship in September 2019. Her lecture will focus on understanding the effect of the HAIL Scholarship on student decision.

Understanding the effect of the HAIL Scholarship on student decision

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.