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K-State Today

March 5, 2019

Nguyen co-authors article published in top-tier journal Economics of Education Review

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Tuan Nguyen

Are Pell Grants worth the investment? 

According to an in-depth research study recently published by Tuan Nguyen, K-State College of Education assistant professor, the answer is yes. 

Nguyen co-authored the journal article "Monetary Substitution of Loans, Earnings, and Need-based Aid in Postsecondary Education: The impact of Pell Grant Eligibility" with his former graduate school advisor, Brent J. Evans, assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University. 

The article appears in the Economics of Education Review and is currently available online. The journal publishes research on education policy and finance, human capital production and acquisitions, and the returns to human capital. 

"We are very excited this paper has been published as it provides consistent and causal evidence of the effects of an important federal policy, the Pell Grant, on postsecondary outcomes, and it examines some potential mechanisms for these effects via the substitution of work and loans from the increased grant aid," Nguyen said. 

Nguyen said the study of the Pell Grant is of great interest to policymakers and researchers because until recently there has not been rigorous evidence of its effects and effectiveness in student persistence and academic outcomes. This new study provides strong causal evidence that Pell Grant eligibility provides students with additional grant aid, particularly at four-year institutions. 

The researchers discovered that the Pell Grant leads to an increase in GPA for men and a within-year persistence of 2 to 3 percentage points for women. 

"Our evidence suggests that grant aid in general, and Pell Grant specifically, does help students persist or perform better academically," Nguyen said. "As such, we've determined it is a valuable tool, worthy of continued public and private investment."