HAILed it: Tuition-free promise effectively recruits low-income students to U-M

A University of Michigan program that sent personalized commitments of financial aid to high-achieving, low-income students throughout the state has shown positive results in helping to economically diversify the student body.

Research by Susan Dynarski, U-M professor of public policy, education and economics, and colleagues found that with an early commitment of aid, high school students were twice as likely to apply to U-M (67 percent compared to 26 percent) and twice as likely to enroll (26 percent compared to 12 percent).

The researchers helped to design U-M’s High Achieving Involved Leaders (HAIL) scholarship program to reach out to low-income, high-achieving students who were uncertain about their suitability at U-M. The research also sought to address overestimates of the cost of college and procedural barriers such as financial aid forms.

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