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Impact of state financial aid for students on university tuition prices: The case of the Ser Pilo Paga program in Colombia




tuition fees, higher education, Ser Pilo Paga, natural experiment, Colombia


During the last decade in Latin America, the use of financing policies as mechanisms to support admission to higher education has spread. Thus, by the end of 2014, the Government of Colombia introduces the Ser Pilo Paga (SPP) subsidy program as a strategy to strengthen access for students with high academic performance in conditions of socioeconomic vulnerability. Most of the research reviewed on this program has focused on coverage, allocation, academic performance, and educational outreach. With the help of tuition price data reconstructed with pecuniary documentary records and parametric techniques and through a difference-in-differences methodology, its impact on tuition prices is approximated in a sample of 14 high-quality accredited institutions out of a total of 65 during the period from 2015 to 2018. The results provide evidence that the SPP program increased the tuition prices of the participating universities by an average of 2.3 to 4.3 percentage points.


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Author Biographies

Carlos Hoyos-Pontón, Children International Colombia

Carlos Hoyos-Pontón, economista de la Universidad del Norte con maestría en economía por la misma universidad. Certificado en evaluación de impacto de programas sociales por Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gerente de programas de Children International Colombia.

Alexander Villarraga-Orjuela, Universidad del Norte

Alexander Villarraga-Orjuela, doctor en Políticas Públicas por la Universidad de Arkansas, es profesor asistente en el Departamento de Economía de la Universidad del Norte, Colombia. Su investigación se enfoca en el área de la economía de la educación y el diseño, implementación y evaluación de políticas educativas, principalmente en educación superior.




How to Cite

Hoyos-Pontón, C., & Villarraga-Orjuela, A. (2023). Impact of state financial aid for students on university tuition prices: The case of the Ser Pilo Paga program in Colombia. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.