Les effets à court et moyen terme du soutien financier aux étudiants au Québec et dans le reste du Canada


This report assesses the short- and medium-term effects of exogenous variation in the cost of post-secondary education (PSE) generated from randomly offered financial support in Quebec and the rest of Canada. These effects are measured using economic variables observed in the initial phase of the life cycle and measuring the quality of the study-work transition to age 30.

Does an increase in the level of financial support (compared to that already provided by Quebec and Canadian financial assistance programs) have an impact on the decision to undertake higher education? And if so, for whom? Does this increase have an impact on the income trajectories of young people who will pursue PSE? Is financial support a substitute for parental financial support, or is it simply in addition to existing supports, or even encouraging more parental support? It is these types of questions that the study attempts to answer.

To do this, we combine data from (i) the Willingness to Borrow field experiment involving 1,248 senior high school students in Ontario, Manitoba or Saskatchewan, or enrolled in a CEGEP in Quebec in 2008-2009, and (ii) a follow-up survey conducted between 2019 and 2021 with these same participants. The original experiment was primarily aimed at estimating the value of financial support for PSE and included “randomized” support payments that allow us to use a “Control vs. Treatment” to estimate the causal effect of an exogenous variation in tuition fees in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Our results show that the increased financial support generated by experimentation should be considered ex-ante financial support across all programs. So it allows us to determine what would happen if the state decided to reduce the cost of higher education. This also means that the results presented below cannot be used to assess the impact of more targeted policies such as certain measures recently introduced by the Government of Quebec as part of the Quebec Perspective Scholarships program as this new program is intended to encourage students to choose specific fields of study.

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