Long-term effects of Individual Development Accounts on postsecondary education: Follow-up evidence from a randomized experiment


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This paper presents evidence from a randomized field experiment testing the impact of a 3-year matched savings program on educational outcomes 10 years after the start of the experiment. We examine the effect of an Individual Development Account (IDA) program on (1) educational enrollment, (2) degree completion, and (3) increased education level. The IDA program, which ran from 1998 to 2003 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, provided low-income households with financial education and matching funds for qualified savings withdrawals, including a 1:1 match for educational uses. We find a significant impact on education enrollment and positive (but nonsignificant) impacts on degree completion and increase in level of education. We also examine the interaction between gender and treatment assignment, finding that the IDA had a strong positive effect on increased educational attainment for men but not for women.

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