Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


Access to Higher Education and the College Choice of Rural Low-Income Students


Chinasa A. Ordu

Document Type



Educational Leadership (Higher Education)

Publication Date

Spring 2013


The viability of obtaining a college education is being challenged. As higher education has been touted as the means for increasing one’s economic mobility, financing a college education can be a deterrent for those from low-income backgrounds. Past research has highlighted that financial aid offered in the form of grants as having a great impact on the college enrollment patterns of students from underserved, low-income backgrounds (Leslie & Brinkman,1988); however with the financial aid shift from grants to loans, student loans are being used primarily by this group to fund their education. Unfortunately, student loan debt has soared over $1 trillion dollars (Fields, 2011). Thus, there is a rising concern on the affordability and access of higher education. This study seeks to unearth the experiences of rural, low-income students’ college choice in an effort to discover how their perceptions of financing college impacts their enrollment into higher education.

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