Financial Aid and the College Persistence of the African American Male Student

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Low student completion rates have increased pressure on college and university administrators across the country to raise retention and graduation rates and have forced the review of many practices on campus. This qualitative study aimed to examine the effects of financial aid on higher educational persistence among African American males. Semi-structured interviews with African American male students were conducted to identify perceptions of the financial aid department and financial assistance related to successful persistence among the identified population. Findings from the interviews showed the perceptions of factors that created successful persistence were (a) meaning interactions with financial aid, (b) percentage of aid coverage, (c) family expectations/support, (d) and additional financial aid opportunities. A detailed analysis revealed that the student participants agreed that staff/student relationships and financial aid stability were important factors related to the retention of African American male students. Students also indicated that the percentage of aid covering their tuition/fees is a huge factor when assessing which college to attend. In addition, family expectations/support were connected to enrolling in a university but were not an important factor in retention when considering financial hardships that arise for college students. Finally, implications for practice and recommendations for future research were identified. The study findings might be helpful to college and university administrators needing to improve student completion rates. The findings might also be helpful to African American male students seeking a college or university to attend.

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  • 03/04/2024
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