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Determined to Succeed - CSAC California Student Aid Commission ...

Determined to Succeed - CSAC California Student Aid Commission ...

esources and the highest

esources and the highest financial barriers to success, had a second-year re-enrollment rateof 93 percent.Cal Grants also played a significant role in promoting successful transfer from communitycolleges to four-year institutions. For example, when all community college students withaspirations for a bachelor’s degree in this cohort were compared, those provided Cal GrantA awards were twice as likely to transfer to and remain enrolled at four-year institutions bytheir third and fourth year as their non-grant counterparts.Regression analysis indicates that even when controlling for family income and assets, gradepoint average in high school, and the educational background of parents, the receipt of a CalGrant significantly increased a student’s likelihood of persisting in school for four years.What the data from this cohort show is that providing aid to students who could not otherwiseafford higher education, or who would have to work more and study less without assistance,is an investment that pays off in terms of increased persistence.ConclusionMany other specific findings can be drawn from the data in this report. For example, four-yearcollege students who changed to different four-year institutions generally moved to less expensivefour-year public institutions closer to home. And aid applicants who delayed enrollingafter initially applying for financial assistance were two-and-a-half times more likely to dropout by their second year than those who enrolled immediately.Other pieces of the puzzle, however, cannot be assessed from these data. For example, whilethe overwhelming proportion of students persist, is the failure of the much smaller, but still significant,proportion who drop out linked to financial problems, unexpected tuition increases,inadequate articulation of coursework between two- and four-year institutions, unavailabilityof required courses at convenient times, inadequate counseling or some other factors? Whilemany institutions of higher education spend considerable resources attracting students, farfewer appear to focus on retention once the students are in the door—and nothing in this studyindicates what problems institutions need to address specifically to increase persistence.The value of the close examination of this single cohort of 100,000 aid applicants is not inproviding a road map to circumvent all of the detours and unexpected pit stops that studentsmake in pursuit of a higher education. Instead, it is in demonstrating to policy-makers thatstudents are far more persistent than they are normally given credit for once they are incollege, and that Cal Grants make a significant difference in getting them in the door andhelping them stay there.3

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