The Relationship Between Financial Aid Advising And Community College Student Engagement
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Education
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The rising cost of higher education has positioned federal financial aid as an inescapable part of the college experience for a growing number of incoming students (Baum, 2006). In the 2014-2015 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education allocated more than $150 billion of federal financial aid for eligible college students (Federal Student Aid, 2014). Although billions of dollars in federal student aid have been made available, finances or lack thereof, remain an oft-cited barrier to student success (Long & Riley, 2007; Myers, 2008). Community college student support services such as financial aid advising, contribute to promoting successful student outcomes (Cooper, 2010). More research is needed regarding the role of the campus financial aid adviser as it relates to community college student outcomes (McKinney & Roberts, 2012). The purpose of this study was to use the theory of student engagement as defined by Kuh et al. (2006) as it relates financial aid advising to the engagement of community college students. Ex post facto data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) 2014 Cohort was used to investigate whether a difference in student engagement existed between students who reported use of financial aid advising and those who did not. The researcher also examined the relationship between the frequency of use, satisfaction with, and importance of financial aid advising and student engagement as well as the five CCSSE benchmarks of effective practice. The results of the study show students who indicated use of financial aid advising reported significantly higher levels of student engagement than those who did not. The researcher found weak to moderate positive relationships between the frequency of use, satisfaction with, and importance of financial aid advising and student engagement. Additionally, each of the financial aid advising variables served as predictors of at least one CCSSE benchmark and student engagement. These findings provide meaningful information regarding the relationship between financial aid advising, particularly student satisfaction with the advising, and student engagement.