The notion of merit-aid is not a new development in higher education. Although previous researchers have demonstrated the impact of state-adopted merit-aid funding on student decision-making, fewer studies have examined institutional pricing responses to broad-based merit-aid policies. Using a generalized difference-in-difference approach, we extend previous empirical work by examining the impact of merit-aid on institutional pricing strategies while considering both the institution's tuition-setting authority and the relative strength of the merit-aid program. In this study, we find that colleges and universities with the authority to set their own tuition increased their in-state tuition and fees following broad-based merit-aid policy adoption; however, institutions with state-controlled tuition-setting authority respond to broad-based merit-aid policies by lowering their in-state tuition and fees. Our findings suggest that the incentives and dynamics of each state's policy environment are significant determinants of institutional responses to state-level policy adoptions.
Tuition-setting authority and broad-based merit aid
The effect of policy intersection on pricing strategies