Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Knoeppel

Committee Member

Dr. Tony W. Cawthon

Committee Member

Dr. Leslie Gonzales

Committee Member

Dr. Russell A. Marion, II

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between unmet financial need, lottery tuition assistance and retention. This study considered whether unmet financial need served as a predictor of retention and how the addition of lottery tuition assistance (LTA) to a financial aid package reduced unmet financial need. Retention was defined as a student who started in Fall, 2008 and returned in Fall, 2009.The two-year college, Greenville Technical College, considered in this study was a mid-size, public, two-year college in the southeastern United States.

A secondary data sources was used in the study of first time students taking a minimum of six credit hours in the Fall, 2008 cohort. Path analysis techniques were used to evaluate a model of retention and analyze the relationship between lottery tuition assistance, unmet financial need and retention. Demographic, academic and financial variables were utilized in the study.

The model fit statistics indicated a plausible model for retention. Findings from the study showed that unmet financial need had a significant effect on retention. As unmet financial need increases, the probability that a student will be retained decreases. GPA had a significant effect on retention. As GPA increases the probability that a student will be retained increases. Lottery tuition assistance had an indirect effect on retention acting through GPA.

The secondary purpose of the study was to determine how the addition of LTA to the financial aid package reduced unmet financial need and the characteristics of students who received LTA. 35.7% of the cohort received lottery tuition assistance. A majority of students who received LTA did not have unmet financial need and therefore had no reduction in unmet financial need. An examination of students who received LTA revealed that most of the students were White/non-Hispanics between the ages of 16 and 21. The conclusion is that a significant negative relationship exists between unmet financial need and retention and that lottery tuition assistance reduces unmet financial need for only 15% of the students in the cohort.

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