Journal Article Increasing College Going by Incentivizing Savings: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Italy
Alberto Martini, Davide Azzolini, Barbara Romano, Loris Vergolini
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We estimate the impact of a matched savings account program on high school students’ college enrollment and persistence through a randomized controlled trial carried out in Italy. The tested program (Percorsi) provided low‐income high school students with a 4:1 match rate for savings dedicated to higher education expenditures and required that they attended financial education classes. The program increased rates of enrollment and persistence in university by about nine percentage points. Effects were even larger for vocational school students, who have poorer social backgrounds and lower academic preparation. Incentivized savings programs have potential to reduce social disparities in higher education participation, though the lower saving capacity of poorer households can generate regressivity in program design.

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Research Areas Education Wealth and financial well-being
Tags Higher education Wealth inequality Inequality and mobility Opportunity and ownership Financial stability Family savings