Patricia Somers


Researchers disagree on the impact of student financial aid, with the major research traditions in education, sociology, and economics providing conflicting results. The purpose of this research was to develop and test an institutional model to measure the effect of student aid. A comprehensive theoretical model of student matriculation that examined first-time attendance, within-year persistence, and year-to-year persistence of the entering class at an urban, public university was created. The model included the following factors: background, achievement, college experiences, and financial aid. The findings suggested that the logical model proposed was both workable and potentially useful for other institutions. Ibis is significant because the method developed uses only extant data and can be used by any institution. Moreover, the Student Price Response Coefficients (SPRCs) provide the needed linking mechanism between enrollment management and financial planning, which can provide significant guidance to university administrators. This article focuses on the overarching concerns raised by this year-long study of the impact of aid on who enrolls and who persists.