CHANGES IN HIGHER EDUCATION ENROLLMENT, TUITION AND FINANCIAL AID HOW THESE FACTORS MAY AFFECT FUTURE GRADUATES

Open Access
Author:
LEE, TIFFANY CHANNELLE
Area of Honors:
Agricultural and Extension Education
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Thesis Supervisor
  • Daniel Francis Perkins, Faculty Reader
  • Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • higher education
  • finance
Abstract:
Each year hundreds of thousands of students attend colleges and universities throughout the United States. Recently there have been reports about universities increasing building projects, decreasing government funding, and the increasing cost of attending college. While it is a national problem, this project focused on the University Park campus of Penn State University. The purpose of the project was to discover if students 1) believed their student loan debt would affect their financial stability after graduation, and 2) examine whether or not the increase in enrollment, rise in tuition, and decreased in government funding created changes in students’ financial aid packages at University Park. Quantitative and Qualitative methods were used to conduct this study. Thirty-six (36) seniors, who attended University Park since the 2008-2009 academic year were interviewed, about how they felt about the rise in tuition and how it might affect their financial stability after graduation. Each participant’s 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 student aid summaries were used to compare the financial aid packages from these two school years. The research showed that for the most part students believed their student loan debt, or lack thereof, would affect their monetary situation after graduating from Penn State. Many students viewed their debt as a setback and hindrance from being able to pursue certain goals such as attending graduate school, purchasing a car or renting an apartment, or etc. The comparison of the student aid summaries found that the average total aid had decreased between 2008-2009 and 2011-2012. It also showed that there has been an average increase in grants. The results from this project suggests that while students may not be accumulating more debt as higher education costs increases, they are still being affected by the rise in tuition and decrease in funding.