This paper compares partial and general equilibrium eﬀects of alternative ﬁnancial aid policies intended to promote college participation. We build an overlapping generations life-cycle, heterogeneous-agent, incomplete-markets model with education, labor supply, and consumption/saving decisions. Altruistic parents make inter vivos transfers to their children. Labor supply during college, government grants and loans, as well as private loans, complement parental transfers as sources of funding for college education. We ﬁnd that the current ﬁnancial aid system in the U.S. improves welfare, and removing it would reduce GDP by two percentage points in the long-run. Any further relaxation of government-sponsored loan limits would have no salient eﬀects. The short-run partial equilibrium eﬀects of expanding tuition grants (especially their need-based component) are sizeable. However, long-run general equilibrium eﬀects are 3-4 times smaller. Every additional dollar of government grants crowds out 20-30 cents of parental transfers.
Abbott, Brant; Gallipoli, Giovanni; Meghir, Costas; and Violante, Giovanni L., "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium" (2013). Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers. 2257.