THE EFFECT OF FINANCIAL AID ON PERSISTENCE IN AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION.
AdvisorLeslie, Larry L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to ascertain the relationship between student persistence and financial aid through a meta-analysis of existing empirical research. The significance of the study was that financial aid policy would be enhanced if the facts regarding the relationship were clearly known. The meta-analysis assessed forty-nine studies, representing seventy samples. Studies were organized into two categories: (1) studies that compared financial aid recipients to nonrecipients and (2) studies that examined persistence differences among financial aid recipients. Studies were integrated by converting each study result into the common metric of effect size. The meta-analysis results were reported in average unweighted and weighted effect sizes. In the latter case results were weighted by the number in the treatment group. Average effect sizes were interpreted by (1) absolute magnitude of effect sizes, (2) graphic representation, and (3) an elasticity measure. The meta-analysis examining the total sample found financial aid to have a small, but significant, positive effect on student persistence, thereby enabling lower income students to persist at a rate roughly equal to that of middle and upper income students. The average unweighted and weighted effect sizes of the total sample were +.13 and +.06, respectively. The length of persistence measured, the type of institution attended, and whether studies controlled for academic ability were found to be mediators influencing the magnitude and direction of the effect size. When results of studies that examined persistence differences among financial aid recipients were integrated, the following conclusions were reached: (1) there was little difference in the persistence of males and females, (2) minority students persisted significantly less than white students, and (3) the amount of financial aid had a significant positive effect on persistence. When forms of financial aid were analyzed, although the effect sizes were reasonably small and the differences in effect sizes among forms were minimal, combinations of aid were determined to be more effective than single forms. This finding probably reflects more the amount of financial aid than the form of financial aid.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration