Student Success through Scholarships: Promising Practices that Support Post-Secondary Graduation

Mar 01, 2015
  • Description

Providing even relatively small scholarships can encourage postsecondary enrollment and retention. A 2005 Oregon University System survey of high school graduates revealed that of respondents who had chosen not to attend college, approximately 56% indicated that a scholarship would have influenced their decision to attend. Nearly one-quarter stated that an award of just $1,500 could have prompted them to attend college ( office of Strategic Programs and Planning, Oregon University System, 2006). Other studies have found that grants of $1,000 make a significant difference for post-secondary enrollment and completion (Castleman & Long, 2013; Goldrick-Rab, Harris, Kelchen, & Benson, 2012). Although in most instances the amount of student financial aid accounts for relatively small amounts of the variance in persistence, more financial aid has a larger impact than less aid and receiving any two forms of aid (scholarships, loans, work-study, etc.) has a larger positive effect on persistence than receiving only one form of aid. However, large, visible programs that are easy to understand and provide a single source of significant financial aid to students (as opposed to the usual patchwork of aid) have an even greater impact on student outcomes (Hossler et al., 2009).