February 2015

IZA DP No. 8875: The Effect of Georgia's HOPE Scholarship on College Major: A Focus on STEM

published in: IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2015, 4:15

There is growing concern in the U.S. that the nation is producing too few college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and there is a desire to understand how various policies affect college major decisions. This paper first uses student administrative records from the University System of Georgia to examine whether Georgia's HOPE Scholarship has affected students' college major decisions, with a focus on STEM majors. We find consistent evidence that HOPE reduced the likelihood that a USG student earned a degree with a major in a STEM field. The paper explores alternative reasons why HOPE reduced the likelihood of earning a STEM major.