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ERIC Number: EJ1162257
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1551-0670
Rural/Non-Rural Differences among Pennsylvania FAFSA Applicants Pursuing the Same Type of Postsecondary Degree
Prins, Esther; Kassab, Cathy
Journal of Research in Rural Education, v32 n7 2017
To support rural postsecondary students' college access and completion, researchers, policy makers, and educators need a more comprehensive understanding of their demographic characteristics and financial needs, especially compared to nonrural students. Previous rural-nonrural analyses have not disaggregated students by degree type (bachelor's, associate's, or certificate/diploma). Accordingly, this article analyzes the demographic, financial, and educational characteristics of Pennsylvania postsecondary students; identifies rural-nonrural differences among students pursuing the same type of degree; and examines the distinctive needs and challenges of rural postsecondary students. The primary data source is the 2010-11 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA, n = 610,925 Pennsylvania applicants), supplemented by interviews with two policy experts and six financial aid administrators at rural postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania. Students from rural counties were underrepresented among FAFSA applicants. Salient geographic differences included the type of institution students planned to attend, type of secondary diploma, marital status, age, adult learner status, parental education, dislocated worker status, family income, poverty, and expected family contribution. The findings suggest that in Pennsylvania, geographic location structures who pursues higher education and applies for the FAFSA, their financial circumstances, and the types of institutions they select.
Penn State University College of Education, Center on Rural Education and Communities. 310B Rackley Building, University Park, PA 16802. Tel: 814-863-2031; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers; Researchers; Students
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A