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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of pre-collegiate academic outreach programs on first-year financial aid attainment, academic achievement and persistence
by Coleman, Angela Alvarado, Ed.D., The Florida State University, 2011, 84; 3477196
Abstract (Summary)

National statistics continue to show substantial disparities in the postsecondary enrollment and completion rates between more and less advantaged groups. Despite gains made on the part of low-income, first generation, and minority students in the areas of access, persistence, and academic achievement, gaps still exist (Avery & Kane, 2004; Gladieux & Swail, 1998; NCES, 2002; 2006). Pre-collegiate outreach programs have demonstrated success and studies suggest that college qualified low-income students who receive college preparatory guidance are more likely to attend college than those who do not (King, 1996). However, a review of published reports of these programs suggests mixed and some negative results with very few programs having been subjected to rigorous evaluations.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of pre-collegiate programs on financial aid attainment, first-year persistence, and college GPA. Comparisons were made among two groups of first-time in college, low-income students enrolled in a first-year transition Summer Bridge Program at a four-year public institution in the academic years of 2003 – 2006. The treatment group consisted of college freshman enrolled in the University's first-year transition Summer Bridge Program who also participated in a pre-collegiate academic outreach program (i.e., Upward Bound, Talent Search, GEAR-UP, etc.) in high school. The control group consisted of college freshman with similar background characteristics enrolled in the first-year transition Summer Bridge Program who never participated in a pre-collegiate academic outreach program in high school.

Data used in this study are records of 1,197 students who entered the institution from Summer 2003 through Summer 2006 and enrolled full-time. Using descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and multiple regression the researcher examined whether students who participated in a pre-college academic outreach program persisted differently their freshman to sophomore year of college than non-program participants with similar student background characteristics. The study also explored differences in first-year cumulative college GPA and gift financial aid award amounts to explore if program participants were more likely to have higher grade point averages and obtain higher gift financial aid awards than non-program participants.

When examining the total number of 1,197 students in the sample, the researcher found that 217 students (18.1%) did participate in a pre-collegiate outreach program in high school and 980 (81.9%) of the students did not participate in a pre-collegiate academic program in high school. The majority of students in the sample were students of color (N=1,008).

The average gift financial aid award for the total sample was $3,810 with the average award for pre-collegiate program participants being $3,926 and $3,743 for non-program participants. The average first-year college GPA for the entire sample was 2.67. The average first-year cumulative college GPA was 2.51 for pre-collegiate program participants and 2.71 for non-participants. In terms of persistence, 1077 (90.0%) students from the total sample (N=1,197) persisted to their sophomore year. This figure consists of 189 (87.1%) of all pre-collegiate program participants (N=217) persisting and 888 (90.6%) of all non-program participants persisting (N=980).

Multiple regression was used to analyze the impact of pre-collegiate program participation on gift financial aid attainment and academic achievement. Binomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to address the research questions related to persistence. After controlling for student background characteristics, the main findings were: (1) participation in a pre-college program had no significant effect on the likelihood of receiving more gift financial aid for the first year of college when compared to non-participants; (2) participants in pre-college programs had lower probability of obtaining first-year cumulative college GPAs of 3.0 of higher than non-participants from similar backgrounds; and (3) participants in pre-college programs had lower probability of persisting to their second year of college than non-participants from similar backgrounds.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hu, Shouping
School: The Florida State University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 72/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education
Keywords: Academic achievement, Academic outreach, Financial aid, Pre-college programs, Upward Bound
Publication Number: 3477196
ISBN: 978-1-124-91870-9
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