Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Study Shows College Retention Rates Improved by Targeting Students Receiving Pell Grants for Supplemental State Aid

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Study Shows College Retention Rates Improved by Targeting Students Receiving Pell Grants for Supplemental State Aid

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Strategically targeted need-based financial aid dollars could improve higher education student retention rates - increasing chances of a student graduating from college, according to a study conducted for the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Authored by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Noel-Levitz, the study found that targeting supplemental financial aid to students receiving Pell Grants in Louisiana improved retention rates by more than 14 percent.

The study examines financial aid policies and approaches affecting four-year public institutions in the state of Louisiana. Key findings include:

* Pell Grants improve retention rates for those students who are the most at-risk

* Pell Grants help overcome differences in retention rates across income levels among students with equivalent academic preparation

* When Pell Grants are coupled with Louisiana's GO Grants - which help nontraditional and low- to moderate-income students who need financial assistance to afford college - student retention rates improve by 14 percent compared with students receiving Pell Grants alone

* Increasing GO Grants up to $4,000 and targeting the aid to students with weak overall financial aid awards could increase Louisiana's retention rates, while saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars annually

"With public funding for financial aid facing constraints at both the state and federal levels, there is heightened interest in the question: How do strategies allocating financial aid affect student retention and completion? …

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