Estimating the Value of Higher Education Financial Aid : Evidence from a Field Experiment
Using data from a Canadian field experiment on the financial barriers to higher education, we estimate the distribution of the value of financial aid for prospective students. We find that a considerable share of prospective students perceive significant credit constraints. Most of the individuals are willing to pay a sizable interest premium above the prevailing market rate for the option to take up a loan, with a median interest rate wedge equal to 6.8 percentage points for a $1,000 loan. The willingness-to-pay for financial aid is highly heterogeneous across students, with preferences and in particular discount factors playing a key role in accounting for the variation.