Financial Aid Interventions and Latinx First-Generation Student Persistence at a Community College

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2024-05-07

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Abstract

This mixed methods study aimed to determine if an association exists between financial aid interventions offered to students and first-generation Latinx students’ persistence at a community college in southeast Texas. This study used two theoretical frameworks to enhance understanding of the first-generation Latinx experience with the financial aid interventions offered at the study site and students' persistence. The first framework is LatCrit, an extension of Critical Race Theory, which reveals how Latinx experience social aspects. LatCrit emphasizes the internalized experiences of the Latinx population within society, which is vital to how Latinx first-generation students interpret and perceive financial aid interventions as support towards college persistence. The second theoretical framework is Swail, Redd, and Perna’s Institutional Components of Student Persistence, which links student retention to academic success with an emphasis on institutions, examining the institution’s services and practices rather than the individual student’s conduct. The research followed 605 first-generation Latinx students from spring 2021 through spring 2023, looking at financial aid interventions and persistence rates to conduct the quantitative study. A constant comparative analysis of the data revealed common and distinct themes for employees and students. Using a Chi-Square Test of Association, results indicate no significant association between first-generation status and persistence for Latinx students or receiving financial aid and the persistence of Latinx students. There was, however, significance in the association between being first-generation Latinx and receiving financial aid at the institution site. A convenience sample of financial aid employees and first-generation Latinx students participated in focus groups and individual interviews, respectively, for the qualitative portion of the study. In the study, common themes emerged, such as understanding the financial aid processes, experiences and concerns of Latinx students and their families, and their available support systems.

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Keywords

Financial Aid Interventions, Financial Aid, First Generation, Latinx, Hispanic, Latino, First-Gen Latino, Persistence, Community College, Texas, Two Year

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