Candidate: Jack Phillip Powell
Degree of: Doctor of Education
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2002, 1:30 p.m.
- 3:30 p.m.
This study addressed two research questions. The first dealt with the relationship between financial aid and freshman persistence. Is there evidence that any of the financial aid variables in the study relate to freshman persistence? If so, what is the nature of that relationship? The second question asked if a model can be developed to predict freshman persistence at the Midwestern liberal arts college using the variables in the study.
The subjects of the study (N=1, 208) consisted of five cohorts of first-time, full-time freshman enrolling in fall 1994 through fall 1998. The college is a private, liberal arts institution with a traditional undergraduate enrollment of 1,000. The dependent variable, persistence, signified whether a student completed two semesters of full-time course work during their freshman year and re-enrolled the following fall. Independent variables included gender, residency, ACT composite score and 10 financial aid variables.
The study revealed a relationship between several of the financial aid variables and freshman persistence. The study found that students with lower expected family income and higher unmet need were less likely to persist. This means that the receipt of financial aid alone is not adequate to overcome the effects of low family income on persistence. The nature and strength of the relationship was difficult to determine due to high correlation between the financial aid variables and prior academic achievement as measured by the ACT composite score. The study was unable to develop a logistic regression model to predict freshman persistence using the variables of the study.
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