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Abstract

The increased emphasis on loans during the 1980s as a major source of student financial aid has caused some people in the higher education community to speculate that this shift could have detrimental effects on long-term persistence. This article examines the evolving influence of student financial aid on year-to-year persistence for three student cohorts, the high school classes of 1972, 1980, and 1982. A comparative analysis of the National Longitudinal Study and High School and Beyond Survey is presented. The findings include: (1) loans as the only form of aid were negatively associated with first-to-second-year persistence in the 1970s, but not the 1980s; and (2) all types of aid packages were positively associated with year-to-year persistence in the 1970s and 1980s.

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