Portland State University. Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education
Educational Leadership and Policy
1 online resource (viii, 157 pages)
College dropouts -- Oregon -- Prevention -- Case studies, Low-income college students -- Oregon -- Case studies, Higher education and state -- Oregon -- Case studies
Every college age student should have the opportunity to attend college and earn a degree, but the fiscal realities for lower income students prevent the majority from attending and the vast majority from completing college, thus perpetuating an intergenerational trend of limited postsecondary education and a likelihood of marginal income and status. Past research studies have shown that, among lower income students, those who receive higher levels of grant funding to offset college expenses are more likely to persist toward completing their educations than those who do not receive the same level of grant funding and thus are forced to rely upon other means, such as student loans or employment, to pay for college. The majority of this research was conducted prior to the recession that began in December 2007 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008), which has been more severe and longer lasting than any economic contraction since the Great Depression (Dwyer & Lothian, 2012); more current research is needed to determine whether the educational retention behaviors of lower income students in the current challenging economic climate are positively impacted by grant funding. In this study I used quantitative methods to analyze a specific state policy change to determine whether a significant change in the grant funding provided to lower income students resulted in increased retention rates for these students. This study examines school years from 2006-2010, thus encompassing the recent financial crisis and affording an opportunity to explore the persistence behaviors of lower income students during the greatest financial crisis of modern times. The ultimate purpose of the study is to provide conclusions from the research to postsecondary policy makers in the hopes of informing policy and supporting continuing funding of need-based financial aid for lower income students.
McFall, Kara Lynn, "State Need-Based Aid and Four-Year College Student Retention: A Statewide Study" (2013). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1003.