Dissertation: Lundon Creshett Jackson

Cohort 3, published 2012


Impact of Federal Student Aid on Completion Rates in the California Community College System


The purpose of this study was to determine the overall impact of student aid, the level of impact of federal grants and loans, and identify any correlation between the price of attendance and federal student aid (FSA). Completion rates in the California Community Colleges (CCC) system was the dependent variable and measurement of impact. This nonexperimental quantitative study used existing data from cohorts in academic years 2000 through 2006 from 112 Title IX institutions within the CCC system.

Several findings emerged from this study including:

  1. A significant population access student aid and completion rates increase with the average award amount;
  2. completion is not supported when affordability is exhibited through a larger population accessing higher education and lower fees;
  3. the population accessing federal grant aid provide accountability in completion, but not federal student loans;
  4. students attending the CCC system access federal grants more, but there has been a gradual shift to federal loans; and
  5. a statistically significant relationship between price of attendance and the average amount awarded through federal grants and loans positively impact completion rates.

As the costs associated with enrollment in higher education continue to rise the role of FSA has become an increasingly important topic of concern. The findings can be used as a tool for policymakers and educational leaders to make informed decisions about FSA funding and recommendations for practice and future study are made. The significance of this research and findings is that current accountability systems are used and analyzed, and a different methodological approach in addressing the impact of FSA on completion rates is performed.

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