This study uses a mixed methods research design to explore the relationship between institutional financial aid practice and graduation rates at a subset of private, non-profit four-year colleges and universities and explores how institutions prioritize allocations to financial aid within the framework of institutional mission, culture, and leadership. The quantitative part of the study explored the relationship between the percentage of need met and graduation rates: overall, African American, and Latino and the percentage of institutional aid allocated to needy students and graduation rates of the same student populations. Four qualitative case studies explored how institutional leaders interpreted mission and made decisions with regard to enrollment and financial aid policy especially as it relates to underrepresented minority students.
The quantitative path analyses showed no relationship between financial aid (percentage of need met and the percentage of institutional aid allocated to students with need) and graduation rates overall and of African American and Latino students at the institutions in the population examined. The qualitative case studies found that institutions, consistent with their espoused missions, sought to support—financially and programmatically—underrepresented minority students but face economic, demographic, and political trends that are making it increasingly difficult to align mission with financial aid practice. There were distinct differences among the institutions in the case studies in terms of tactics they adopted to respond to these economic, demographic, and political trends.
|Advisor:||Perna, Laura W.|
|Commitee:||Harper, Shaun, Naughton, Blake|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration|
|Keywords:||Institutional aids, Minority students, Mission|
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