One justification for public support of higher education is that prospective students, particularly those from underprivileged groups, lack complete information about the costs and benefits of a college degree. Beyond financial considerations, students may also lack information about what they need to do academically to prepare for and successfully complete college. Yet until recently, college aid programs have typically paid little attention to students' information constraints, and the complexity of some programs can exacerbate the problem. This chapter describes the information problems facing prospective students as well as their consequences, drawing upon economic theory and empirical evidence.
Author: Judith Scott-Clayton, NBER Working Paper No. 17811.