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Journal of Student Financial Aid
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0884-9153
Published by National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Homepage  [1 journal]
  • The Effect of Loan Debt on Graduation by Department: a Bayesian
           Hierarchical Approach

    • Authors: Chuan Cai et al.
      Abstract: Using data from three cohorts at the University of Delaware, this study investigates the effects of student loan debt on six-year graduation by department over five years. The effects are estimated from five Bayesian hierarchical models, one model for each year. The Bayesian hierarchical model uses a partial pooling technique to address the over-fitting issue when estimating the effects of loan debt, and this technique is especially beneficial to departments with small enrollments. Similar to the observation that financial aid has different effects by racial and ethnic groups, and socioeconomic groups, findings suggest a pronounced department-level loan debt effect for first-year students that diminishes as students progress through their academic career. These findings suggest that a strategy that considers a students’ academic department when designing a financial aid policy would optimize the efficiency of institutional financial resources. Moreover, universities exploring differential financial aid policies by department should start with randomized trials using first-year students.
      PubDate: Mon, 26 Sep 2022 06:59:58 PDT
  • Strengthening the Bridge Between Financial Aid and Study Abroad

    • Authors: Amy Leap et al.
      Abstract: This article features a case study from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a large, public, urban, research university, in which challenges in administering financial aid for study abroad early in the COVID-19 pandemic led the Education Abroad and Student Financial Services teams to revisit practices and protocols. This article describes compliance concerns, student service, administrative optimization, and interdepartmental relationships. The outcomes emphasize the importance of a strong, sustained partnership between university study abroad and financial aid offices, provide a framework for administrative structures in managing financial aid for study abroad programs, and highlight strategies to provide equitable study abroad opportunities.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:47 PDT
  • Show Me the Money: An Exploration of International Student Net Tuition and
           Fees at Regional Universities in Minnesota and Wisconsin

    • Authors: Colleen Marchwick
      Abstract: International student enrollment has become increasingly important in higher education financing as public appropriations for higher education and enrollments have declined. A critical consideration for U.S. public institutions -- in particular regional institutions that lack brand prestige -- is pricing. This research brief examines the methods regional public universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota used to lower tuition for international, degree-seeking undergraduates. The findings suggest that the institutions used multiple approaches to reduce international non-resident tuition and limit remissions length and renewal. Additionally, remission complexity and price uncertainty may influence perceptions of higher education affordability in the United States.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:38 PDT
  • Cost Sharing and Funding of International Student Career Services:
           Public-Private Partnerships in the German Context

    • Authors: Jessica Schueller
      Abstract: In some countries, employers are viewed as beneficiaries of international student mobility and thus as a funding source for supporting international student programming. In this study, higher education institutions in Germany were surveyed about career services for international students. From the responding institutions (n=141, 33.6%), one key result revealed that over 10% of career services for international students at German universities are funded in whole or in part by local employers, regional development agencies, or employer associations. This cost-sharing model exhibits that employers are increasingly active in providing support and that there is a tendency to fund services instead of scholarships.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:29 PDT
  • Predicting International Student Enrollment by Institutional Aid: A Random
           and Fixed Effects Approach

    • Authors: Daniel C. Posmik
      Abstract: Since the fall semester of 2016, first-time international student enrollment (ISEft) has declined at U.S. colleges and universities. This trend disrupts a steady upwards trajectory of ISEft rates. Previous research has demonstrated that various political, social, and macroeconomic factors influence the number of international students studying in the U.S. Exploiting data from the Common Data Set (CDS), I focus on the role financial aid plays as an enrollment predictor for international undergraduate students. A fixed effects model reveals that financial aid is strongly and significantly predictive of ISEft, yielding a 1.8% enrollment increase per 10% aid increase, all else equal. Interestingly, financial aid is only predictive of ISEft if it is awarded in substantial amounts. Extending the work of Bicak and Taylor (2020), I also analyze how the effectiveness of financial aid awards varies within different institutional settings. Random effects regressions reveal that rural, low research, and private universities experience considerable marginal ISEft boosts when awarding aid to international students. The findings of this work are primarily directed at institutional leaders who seek to revitalize their institution’s ISEft policy. Moreover, these insights may inform local policymakers who seek to incent ISEft.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:19 PDT
  • The Effect of In-State Tuition on International Student Enrollment:
           Evidence from the Heartland

    • Authors: Federick Ngo et al.
      Abstract: In 2008, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MSCU) system modified residency criteria for tuition determinations and allowed institutions to charge international students in-state tuition. We use IPEDS data and a difference-in-differences design to determine the impact of the policy change on new international student enrollment in MSCU public four-year colleges relative to those in neighboring states, the Heartland, and all other states. We also derive a synthetic control group and compare the results. The findings indicate the MSCU policy allowing international students to pay in-state tuition drew 385 new international students to the state in the policy’s first year. Domestic student enrollment did not change, so we infer the policy resulted in an increase in net revenues. We discuss the benefits of expanding in-state tuition to international students, including how it can attract international students to less selective and regional college and universities, increase the cultural diversity of campus and local communities, and expand access to higher education to a more socioeconomically diverse population of students seeking to study in the United States.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:10 PDT
  • Examining the Associations Between Financial Conditions and Study Abroad
           in Diverse, Low-income College Students

    • Authors: Radomir R. Mitic et al.
      Abstract: The study examines ascribed, financial, and college factors to predict study abroad participation among a national sample of students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Based on a longitudinal sample of 398 fourth-year participants of a national scholarship program (consisting of more than 50% students of color and 50% first-generation college goers), results show that despite higher study abroad participation among this group compared to national averages, finances remain a predominant impediment. The results provide a counter-narrative that study abroad participation is for the privileged. Findings also indicate that grant aid and prior exposure to financial adversity in the form of severe poverty are associated with an increased likelihood of study abroad participation, and that these relationships tend not to be moderated by gender or ethnoracial identity. Exploratory information on student motivations for study abroad is also reported. Given the importance of study abroad to learning outcomes, this study points to the importance of attracting to study abroad those for whom the college experience marks a significant break from the adverse conditions of their youth and may inform how study abroad, academic, and financial aid advisors can work with students to find funding sources to make an international experience a reality.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:30:01 PDT
  • Need-Based Aid, Participation in Education Abroad, and Program Type Choice

    • Authors: Angela D. Bell et al.
      Abstract: Although education abroad in the US offers participants demonstrable benefits, direct and opportunity costs are cited as primary barriers to broader participation. Yet the degree to which low-income status deters studying abroad and whether additional need-based aid beyond Pell Grants encourages participation remain uncertain. Moreover, not all education abroad programs are equivalent in terms of costs. This study is the first to examine whether need-based aid recipients differentially choose programs of varying duration or programs offered by various provider types. The sample consisted of 221,981 students from 36 institutions of the Consortium for Analysis of Student Success through International Education (CASSIE). Within that sample, 60,477 received Pell grants. Of those recipients, 39% received additional need-based aid. Regression models controlling for student background and context indicated that Pell grant recipients were 3% less likely to study abroad than peers receiving no such aid, and receipt of additional aid increased likelihood by 1% relative to Pell-only recipients. While aid was unrelated to study abroad duration, low-income students were less likely to study with third-party providers. The findings invite financial aid officers to determine thresholds of additional aid necessary to increase participation and to collaborate more systematically with counterparts in international education.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:29:52 PDT
  • Is the Early Promise of Money Enough' Examining High School

    • Authors: Tangela Blakely Reavis et al.
      Abstract: This study is part of a randomized control trial examining the results of a promise scholarship program, the Degree Project (TDP). Half of the ninth graders in one Midwestern urban school district were notified about a $12,000 promise scholarship offer if they met certain GPA and attendance requirements (2.5 GPA and 90% attendance). This analysis draws on interview data to understand students’ financial knowledge over four years (grades 9-12). The study examined how treatment students (those who were offered the scholarship) and control students (those who were not offered the scholarship) explained and understood the methods they intended to use to finance their college education. The analysis also investigated whether promise group students communicated different financial knowledge than non-promise students. Findings indicate the early promise of a scholarship had no bearing on whether students left high school feeling prepared to meet the financial demands of higher education. Despite the intervention, students had a very rudimentary understanding of how to pay for college and by senior year, college affordability was described as a significant barrier to postsecondary aspirations for most students. Findings raise concerns for the untimely and complicated financial aid process in the U.S. and emphasize the need to address the barriers to college that go beyond price.
      PubDate: Fri, 24 Jun 2022 03:42:41 PDT
  • An Intervention Strategy Addressing Implicit Bias in Scholarships

    • Authors: Lauren Moser Klink
      Abstract: White students receive a disproportionate amount of private scholarships compared to their Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) peers (Kantrowitz, 2011). Scholarships provide important financial support for higher education and BIPOC students are more likely to graduate with loan debt compared to their White peers (Mishory et al., 2019). This loan debt is higher on average for BIPOC students compared to White students (Mishory et al., 2019). Scholarships could provide funding to reduce loan debt. In considering administrators who are involved in selection processes such as scholarship awarding, their implicit bias can impact judgment (Capers et al., 2017). I have sought to lessen the potential impact of implicit bias on scholarship administration through a low-cost and adaptable intervention strategy which is being piloted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The intervention includes a website, holistic training modules, campus communications and an annual meeting.
      PubDate: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 16:02:20 PDT
  • Exploring the Relationship of Enrollment in IDR to Borrower Demographics
           and Financial Outcomes

    • Authors: Daniel Collier et al.
      Abstract: As federal policymakers consider changes to income-driven repayment (IDR) schemes, research examining the characteristics and financial behaviors of student loan borrowers participating in IDR is necessary. Using the nationally representative Survey of Consumer Finances, we examined the demographics of IDR enrollment. Counter to expectations, low-income borrowers, and borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios are less likely to enroll in IDR. Conditional on having a large amount of debt, married women of color are likely to enroll in IDR programs. Findings concerning IDR participation may be highly sensitive to how groups are defined and what covariates are in models. IDR participation does not predict engagement in other financial behaviors such as retirement savings or homeownership.
      PubDate: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 15:43:41 PDT
  • FAFSA and Beyond: How Advisers Manage Their Administrative Burden in the
           Financial Aid Process

    • Authors: Meredith S. Billings et al.
      Abstract: Access to financial aid is crucial in ensuring that students can afford college. Students must file the FAFSA to access federal financial aid and usually the FAFSA is also required for state and institutional aid (U.S. Department of Education, n.d). Prior research has shown, however, that the FAFSA is complicated and burdensome to complete and often acts as a barrier instead of an entry point to college (Bettinger et al., 2012; Bird & Castleman, 2016; Dynarski & Scott-Clayton, 2006, 2008; Dynarski et al., 2013). Given these barriers in accessing aid, some high schools employ college advisers or other school staff to assist students in the financial aid process (Civic Enterprises, 2011; Dunlop Velez, 2016). This single case study explores how College Advising Corps (CAC) advisers perceived their role in the financial aid process and how they discuss college expenses, financial aid, and debt with students. Guided by social capital theory (Coleman, 1988) and administrative burden framework (Herd & Moynihan, 2018), we find that CAC advisers, in their role as a social capital resource, experience learning, psychological, and compliance costs when assisting students to navigate the financial aid bureaucracy. They employ different strategies to overcome, manage, and cope with these costs.
      PubDate: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 15:43:27 PDT
  • Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 Disruptions for California College Students

    • Authors: Sherrie Reed et al.
      Abstract: This paper documents the experience of California college students in the midst of the pandemic as their academic and home lives were disrupted. The analysis relies on a survey sent to all financial aid applicants statewide. Survey respondents include nearly 100,000 students enrolled in both two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions. Results reveal multiple stressors strained the educational experience and trajectories of many students. These stressors were not evenly distributed. In particular, students from low-income backgrounds were more likely to face increased financial stress, additional home responsibilities, and difficulty accessing the online learning environment, when compared to their higher-income peers.
      PubDate: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 15:43:13 PDT
  • The Consequences of a COVID-19 Campus: Student and Staff Views of
           Financial Aid Practice During the Pandemic

    • Authors: Saralyn McKinnon-Crowley
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic closed many college and university campuses as education moved online in 2020. Using interviews and document analysis methods, this article describes how the experiences of campus closure impacted financial aid staff and the students interacting with them. Specifically, it applies the theory of sense of belonging to both staff and students to investigate the question: how did campus closures impact financial aid practice and student and staff sense of belonging' The paper includes recommendations for both legislators and administrators to improve financial aid, even after the pandemic.
      PubDate: Wed, 08 Jun 2022 13:49:15 PDT
  • The Lasting Effects of the Pandemic on Graduate and Professional Education

    • Authors: Robert Kelchen
      Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic caused a shift in the American higher education system. Many institutions switched from in-person to virtual platforms. Since graduate and professional students are more likely than undergraduate students to enroll in a hybrid or online program, they were less affected by the transition to online education. However, the decrease in undergraduate enrollment during the pandemic further squeezed institutional finances showing a decline in international graduate enrollment in the United States. As universities place additional scrutiny on program finances, departments will face pressure to reduce the number of assistantships that are not supported by external grants and contracts, which will disproportionately affect international enrollment. Additionally, the large graduate and professional student loan debt and benefits they receive from repayment plans are issues. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education may pursue efforts to limit the benefits that graduate and professional students receive from the federal student loan program.
      PubDate: Tue, 24 May 2022 11:53:35 PDT
  • Professional Judgment and Emergency Fund Programs: An Opportunity to

    • Authors: Nancy Conneely et al.
      Abstract: In Spring 2020, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students facing financial hardships increased as job losses mounted and schools closed their campuses. Schools, the federal government, and other organizations stepped in to help students deal with emergencies; but there are often hurdles to quickly getting emergency aid into the hands of students. While Title IV of the Higher Education Act provides a viable response mechanism through its emergency aid provisions, these provisions are underutilized. In this paper, we discuss ways in which schools can more effectively use professional judgment authority to quickly get emergency aid to students when they need it. We also discuss ways in which Congress can improve federal policy by removing needless restrictions.
      PubDate: Wed, 18 May 2022 13:38:56 PDT
  • Centering the Marginalized: The Impact of the Pandemic on Online Student

    • Authors: Joshua Travis Brown et al.
      Abstract: During the pandemic, much of the focus of administrators and scholars has been on its impact on residential students and the sudden shift to online instruction. While justified, researchers have yet to focus on online students—who often represent marginalized communities in higher education—to ask whether they were impacted by factors related to the pandemic other than the modality shift. In this study, we examined how the first-year retention of online students was affected during the pandemic, and whether it differed from first-year residential students who transitioned online. We examined records of two student cohorts (Fall 2017 and Fall 2019) from a university to determine each cohort’s retention rate by modality. Holding other relevant factors constant, we found the COVID cohort of students were less likely to persist to the following Fall regardless of modality, although residential students were still much more likely to be retained overall. However, Black and Hispanic students were less likely to be retained across both modalities, and even Black residential students were more vulnerable to not returning than their White counterparts, suggesting that racial inequalities persist across learning modalities. We conclude by suggesting how one retention tool—financial aid—could be used to address the particular needs of online students to improve their retention.
      PubDate: Thu, 12 May 2022 07:03:19 PDT
  • Tuition-Free College in the Context of COVID-19: TN Reconnect Adult
           Student Narratives

    • Authors: Gresham Donald Collom et al.
      Abstract: Utilizing narrative inquiry and thematic analysis, this study followed up with adult students who initially participated in a qualitative project, Understanding How Students Reconnect: A Longitudinal Study (Collom et al., 2021). Five participants shared their experiences as adult students during COVID-19, which included their experiences shifting to virtual learning and the broader effects of the pandemic on their lives. Our findings indicated that while students coped with the transition to virtual learning, the overall perceived quality of education dropped and forced students to make difficult family and employment decisions. Overall, the study illuminated the barriers that exist for adult students who have faced unexpected life-events and demonstrated the need for institutions to build supports for adult students beyond tuition-free college. Our findings highlight the need for supports above tuition for Tennessee Reconnect students. While Tennessee Reconnect has substantially increased adult student enrollment in the state, increased support is essential to realize the full benefits of the policy.
      PubDate: Wed, 11 May 2022 17:45:15 PDT
  • The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Experiences of Students with Basic Needs
           Insecurity: Evidence from a National Survey

    • Authors: Allyson Cornett et al.
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected college students’ basic needs, financial security, academic success, caregiving responsibilities, mental health, and more, according to the Fall 2020 Student Financial Wellness Survey (SFWS) conducted by Trellis Company. Researchers surveyed 37,936 students at 62 two- and four-year colleges and universities from October to November 2020 and found 53 percent (n=20,095) indicated one or more forms of basic needs insecurity (BNI). This brief examines data from students with BNI with a special lens on their mental health, familial responsibilities and finances, employment, and financial security. These results highlight the disparate impacts of the pandemic among basic needs insecure students.
      PubDate: Mon, 09 May 2022 15:11:11 PDT
  • Financial Knowledge or Financial Situations' Toward Understanding Why
           Some College Students Use Credit Cards to Pay for College Tuition

    • Authors: Benjamin D. Andrews
      Abstract: While the majority of college students use credit cards for educational expenses like textbooks, recent data reports that college students also use credit cards to directly fund their schooling by charging for at least some part of their tuition (Sallie Mae, 2009). Because credit cards carry a higher interest rate than student loans, and because they do not have a period of deferred payment while a student is enrolled in school, credit cards are a particularly risky method of payment that students resort to in order to attend college. Why do college students participate in such risky spending behavior to fund their education' This paper uses data from a nationally-representative data set (Education Longitudinal Study) and from a recent national study on college student finances (Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness) to investigate whether financial knowledge or financial situations are better predictors of whether a student uses a credit card to pay for at least some of their college tuition. While most research on this topic has focused on social-psychological factors that influence college student credit card use, this study includes important financial resource and situation variables that shed light on the ways in which college students make financial decisions in a broader economic environment.
      PubDate: Wed, 13 Oct 2021 09:21:08 PDT
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