Mason Burley, Neil Bania, Annie Pennucci - January 2014
Washington’s State Need Grant (SNG) program provides tuition assistance to low-income undergraduate students attending higher education institutions in the state. In the past ten years, state SNG expenditures more than doubled from $136 million in 2003 to $303 million in 2012. Last year (2012-13), about 74,000 students received an SNG (among 106,000 eligible students).
This report assesses the effectiveness of the SNG program in improving enrollment and degree completion outcomes. We find that for students with the lowest family incomes, receipt of State Need Grants is associated with higher re-enrollment and completion rates. Specifically, a 25% change in the SNG award amount would result in a 2 to 4 percentage point change in student re-enrollment and a 4 to 8 percentage point change in completion rates for the lowest income students.
The State Need Grant represents just one of several sources of financial aid that undergraduate students may receive. We examine the interactions between the SNG and other sources of aid and the relationship between overall aid and the student’s cost of attendance. SNG award amounts are based on a student’s family size and family income level. This report looks at how alternative awarding strategies may impact the number of students receiving a grant and the average value of those awards.