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Abstract

Tuition assistance offered by employers is an understudied area of financial aid research. The purpose of this study is to compare the demographic, socioeconomic, academic and financial aid characteristics of college students who receive employer-sponsored financial aid with students who receive traditional financial aid (institutional, state, or federal) and those that receive no aid at public 4-year universities. Using the 2007-08 data from the undergraduate National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:08), we find that there are statistically significant differences between students who receive employer-sponsored aid and those who do not. Students receiving employer aid are older, are more likely to be married, have more children, and are more likely be a business or management major. Students receiving employer aid have higher earnings from work than students receiving traditional financial aid and students receiving no aid and higher total household income than students receiving traditional aid. In addition, the parents of students receiving employer aid are more likely to have only a high school diploma with no further education. Students receiving employer aid are also more likely to take out loans to finance their education than students with no aid but less likely than students with traditional aid.