Publication Date



Changes in financial aid policies may place too much of the burden of paying for college on students. In addition, incentives for accumulating college assets may exacerbate the college cost burden on minority and lower income students. Our study investigated the impacts of these policy changes on college cost burden using trivariate probit analysis with predicted probabilities. We find that recent changes in the financial aid system place a higher responsibility on African American, Latino/Hispanic, and moderate-income students to pay for college themselves. an implication is that greater opportunities for more and higher dollar grants and scholarships at 4-year colleges are needed for African Americans. Further, there is a need to create more grants and scholarships that target Latino/Hispanic students as well as moderate-income students at both 2-year and 4-year colleges. We also find that students are less likely to pay for college with student contributions when parents open a savings account, start a state-sponsored savings plan, or open a college investment fund . However, nonminority and higher-income families are more likely to have college assets than their counterparts. Therefore, we suggest an additional strategy to to reduce the college cost burden on students is to create policies that will encourage accumulation of college assets among minority and lower-income families.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Elliott, W., III, & Friedline, T. (2013). “You pay your share, we’ll pay our share:” The college cost burden and the role of race, income, and college assets. Economics of Education Review, 33, 134–153. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.10.001

Original Citation

Elliott, W., III, & Friedline, T. (2012). "You pay your share, we'll pay our share": The college cost burden and the role of race, income, and college assets (CSD Working Paper No. 12-09). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


race, income, college savings, asset effects, college degree attainment, college enrollment, college expectations, Assets and Education Symposium