Analyzing the Correlation Between Financial Aid and Graduation Rates at a Small, Private, Liberal-Arts Institution
This research investigates the connections between risk factors for persistence at a small, private, midwestern institution (Wilmington College). The primary objective was to identify students with a high financial risk of withdrawal based on known risk factors at the time of enrollment while tracking rates of graduation from each risk-identified cohort. While this study establishes one performance-based control group with regard to academic readiness, additional controls can be applied including behavioral characteristics to better understand the attitudinal impact on persistence as identified by unique institutional identity. Understanding all existing risk factors to attrition is a necessary reality for those charged with improving student retention at a college or university. The existence of a tool to specifically measure one primary risk factor can only help isolate specific risks prior to a student’s withdrawal from the institution. Financial need as indicated by the student’s EFC can significantly impact retention and graduation rates for students in similar incoming first-time full-time freshmen academic cohorts at a small, private, 4-year liberal arts college. The desired outcome of this study is to inform future enrollment and retention actions at similar peer institutions based on the known correlation between ability to afford and rate of graduation.
Graham F. Hunter
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
"Analyzing the Correlation Between Financial Aid and Graduation Rates at a Small, Private, Liberal-Arts Institution" (2020). Stander Symposium Projects. 1965.