Short Title

Arizona Uncertainty


Established in 2008, the Arizona Assurance Scholars Program (AASP) channeled institutional need-based aid to in-state, low-income students. Rapidly growing costs prompted three changes to the AASP eligibility requirements in 2011. We examined how these new requirements—a 3.0 or higher high school grade point average and the submission of the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and admission paperwork by March 1—would affect the gender, racial, and socioeconomic composition of the program’s first three cohorts if they were in effect. Results revealed disproportionate impacts on racial and ethnic minorities and widened gender gaps. Male, Latina/o, and Native American students would be at statistically greater risk for ineligibility relative to female, Asian, and White students. These findings signal the need to model the consequences of policy change, particularly when it reduces college access and undermines the equity of institutional need-based financial aid programs.