From Origins to Outcomes: Essays on State Financial Aid Policy
Dziesinski, Amberly B.
The purpose of this dissertation is to understand how and why different state financial aid policy designs have developed, with particular attention to external influences, and what effect those design choices have on student outcomes. In the first essay, I use the theoretical framework of diffusion to understand the design and adoption of free-college programs in Southern states. In the second, I describe how states responded to the discontinuation of the LEAP federal matching grant for need-based financial aid. In the third, I analyze the effect of Tennessee’s HOPE Access Grant, a hybrid need-and-merit financial aid program, on student outcomes. Collectively, these three studies will contribute to the literature on how education policies are designed and the consequences of those policy design choices.