Toward a More Complete Understanding of the Role of Financial Aid in Promoting College Enrollment: The Importance of Context

Chapter
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 25)

Abstract

Through a review of prior research, this chapter argues that knowledge about how student financial aid programs can best promote college enrollment is incomplete in part because existing research does not devote sufficient attention to the “context” in which these programs operate or the ways that context mediates the effects of aid. The chapter begins by explaining the need to increase educational attainment, the ways inadequate finances limit educational attainment, and the role of financial aid in addressing financial barriers. Then the characteristics of student financial aid programs are described and what is known from existing research about the effects of financial aid on college-related behaviors is summarized. A conceptual model for understanding the ways “context” may influence the relationship between financial aid and college enrollment is proposed. Building on this framework, the chapter concludes by offering questions to guide future research, as well as recommendations for fruitful research strategies.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to David Mundel for the conversations we have had about some of the ideas in this paper.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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