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ERIC Number: ED553512
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 201
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-7821-7
Community College Students' Experiences with Financial Aid Policies and Practices: A Critical Case Study
White, Julie A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Rochester
This case study describes community college students' experiences with governmental financial aid policies and institutional financial aid processes at an urban community college campus in the Northeastern United States. Drawing from theories of social justice, conceptions of social capital, and institutionalist analyses of the community college role, the study concludes that existing policies do not achieve the social justice goal of providing adequate access to postsecondary education at this site. The study utilized qualitative methodology to examine sociocultural influences on students' experiences with financial aid, along with quantitative methodology consisting of a descriptive analysis of student characteristics as collected in institutional databases. Research design and analysis were framed by the transformative-emancipatory perspective. The study found that the student population at this site reflected social stratification, with students more likely to be members of populations traditionally underserved and underrepresented in postsecondary education, including higher proportions of female, low-income, single parent, unemployed, and nontraditional age students. Although students at this site received higher average levels of aid than students at the comparison suburban campus, many received inadequate aid to pursue their education. Most students were enrolled in degree programs to prepare them for transfer to baccalaureate institutions and expressed motivation for academic success. Students' capabilities to achieve these goals were constrained by lack of sufficient financial aid, confusing financial aid processes, inadequate financial aid staff, and a lack of coordination and consistency amongst intersecting policy worlds of state and federal financial aid, public assistance, and other social services. However, students developed cultural capital through fictive kinships that provided them with increased access to resources. Implications for policy include the recommendation that student financial aid policies provide adequate aid for low-income community college students. Second, federal and state governments, along with community colleges, should create clearer systems and policies for financial aid payment. Further, within this context of this site, there is a need for appropriate allocation of staff resources. The finding that students are adept at accessing resources suggests that peer- and community-oriented programs for financial aid education may be effective. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A