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Students who received privately funded scholarships were more likely than similarly qualified peers who did not to enroll in four-year rather than two-year colleges and to remain enrolled into their second year, according to a randomized study described in a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study (abstract available here), which was conducted by economists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, found that the effects of the aid in encouraging enrollment and boosting persistence were especially pronounced among nonwhite students and students with lower grade point averages and standardized test scores -- those who often are not reached by merit-based aid programs offered by states and colleges.