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ERIC Number: ED561949
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Making College Possible for Low-Income Students: Grant and Scholarship Aid in California
Johnson, Hans
Public Policy Institute of California
Improving college access and completion is vital to California's economic well-being. Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) projections show that the state will need one million more college graduates with a bachelor's degree by 2025 in order to satisfy labor force demand. As the costs of attending college have grown, grant and scholarship assistance for students has become increasingly necessary to make college accessible and affordable. This is especially true in California, where a majority of students come from low-income families (almost 60 percent of the state's K-12 students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs). Were it not for grants and scholarships, many low-income students would be unable to participate in the higher education system. In this study, the author examines the role of grant and scholarship aid in California in making college more accessible and in helping students complete college. He finds that: (1) For many low-income students, college would not be possible without grant and scholarship aid, which has helped offset increases in tuition; (2) Students who receive grants and scholarships are more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than otherwise similar students. These findings hold even after controlling for institutional characteristics and student characteristics, including high school grade point average and family income; (3) Performance-based grants do not seem to have greater effects than other types of grants, largely because students already must meet institutional academic requirements to remain enrolled in college; and (4) An important role of aid is that it can induce students to attend four-year colleges rather than community colleges. Students are much more likely to earn a degree if they first enroll at a four-year college. Research has shown that grants and scholarships help students persist in their education and graduate from college. Financial assistance enables and encourages students to focus on their coursework, rather than attending school part-time and working part-time jobs to finance their education. Grants and scholarships also enable many of these students to attend four-year colleges, which have higher completion rates than community colleges. [The author had research support from Kevin Cook and Marisol Cuellar-Mejia. For the technical appendices to this study, "Making College Possible for Low-Income Students: Grant and Scholarship Aid in California. Technical Appendices," see ED561950.]
Public Policy Institute of California. 500 Washington Street Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94111. Tel: 415-291-4400; Fax: 415-291-4401; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: College Access Foundation of California; Donald Bren Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Policy Institute of California
Identifiers - Location: California