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The Racial Wealth Gap, Financial Aid, and College Access
We examine how the racial wealth gap interacts with financial aid in American higher education to generate a disparate impact on college access and outcomes. Retirement savings and home equity are excluded from the formula used to estimate the amount a family can afford to pay. All else equal, omitting those assets mechanically increases the financial aid available to families that hold them. White families are more likely to own those assets and in larger amounts. We document this issue and explore its relationship with observed differences in college attendance, types of institutions ...