Financial Aid and Student Success

We all know that financial aid has its benefits—mostly in the form of easing the burden on our wallets.

We all know that financial aid has its benefits—mostly in the form of easing the burden on our wallets.  But have you considered the other ways it could help?  One group of researchers from an organization called MDRC is looking at how financial aid impact performance and enrollment.

These guys are looking at a scholarship-only plan and how it affects students.  “Scholarship-only,” in this case, means that these students receive just scholarships as financial aid, which are earned by having a) the financial need and b) meeting certain levels of academic achievement.  The thought here is that receiving and relying on scholarships will push students to "an increased effort toward studies, a reduced level of financial stress, and an increased confidence on the part of students in their ability to succeed."

In New York, the scholarship-only plan was put into action without financial aid counseling or support.  Most of the students were low-income adult students who might otherwise have financial difficulty in getting through college due to combined family, work and school responsibilities.  The researchers studied student performance both during the period that they were eligible for scholarships and for two academic years afterwards to look for differences.

Three groups were observed over the course of time: one group could obtain $1,300 in scholarships for two semesters; another group which could get their hands on $3,900 over Fall, Spring and Summer semesters combined; and a third group receiving no scholarships to compare.  Two New York community colleges became the guinea pigs for the study.  One school did see a bit more positive results, noticing that enrollment went up even after scholarship eligibility expired.  However, on the whole, the scholarship-only concept encouraged full-time enrollment primarily during the period of scholarship eligibility.  Unfortunately, without the scholarships, students appeared less motivated to enroll full-time and summer term registration certainly did not boom without that incentive.  Not only this, but without the advice of financial aid counselors, students were likely also to be ill-informed about their options, raising that anxiety level once again.

The study is still in its infancy, but so far MDRC can see that not only the scholarships themselves, but also the guidance of knowledgeable financial aid advisors help students to cope with academic and financial stresses from college.  For more awesome financial aid solutions, get in touch with Go Financial Aid today.

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