Degree Name



Political Science


Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Donald Baum

First Faculty Reader

Daniel Nielson

Honors Coordinator

John Holbein


Malawi, education, scholarships, demand-side interventions, school access, Africa


The study utilizes a causal-comparative research design to compare the educational experiences and outcomes of two student groups – those who did and those who did not receive a needs-based scholarship to attend secondary or tertiary school. We administered surveys to 89 scholarship recipients and 57 non-recipients in the Dowa, Kasungu and Lilongwe Districts of Malawi. Surveys included items to determine group differences across a range of short and medium-term outcomes, including: career aspirations, attendance rate, withdrawal rate, graduation rate, employment status, time unemployed since graduation, and employment quality (using the Tanzanian Standard Classification of Occupations). This study included students currently in school as well as those who had graduated or were of graduation age.

We found that those that receive the scholarship graduated at an average rate of 97% across secondary and tertiary schooling, while non-recipients graduate at an average of 19% for tertiary school and 50% for secondary school. Overall, scholarship recipients are more likely to attend because the scholarship covered boarding school which in turn made them less likely to withdrawal. Recipients are receiving jobs at higher rates; however, the quality of that work is not significant between recipients and non-recipients. It is hypothesized that this is due to the struggling job market of Malawi in which many must take job in which they are underqualified. Overall, the scholarship program has positive significant effects on many of the desired outcomes.