We examine the extent to which tuition and needs-based aid policies explain important differences in the relationship between family income and post-secondary attendance relationships between Canada and the U.S. Using data from recent cohorts, we estimate substantially smaller attendance gaps by parental income in Canada relative to the U.S., even after controlling for family background, cognitive achievement, and local-residence fixed effects. We next document that U.S. public tuition and financial aid policies are actually more generous to low-income youth than are Canadian policies. Equalizing these policies across Canada and the U.S. would likely lead to a greater difference in income-attendance gradients.
Canadian Journal of Economics