Aiding Success: The Role of Aid in Supporting Community College students
THE ROLE OF FEDERAL AND STATE FINANCIAL AID IN SUPPORTING CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS
Community colleges enroll more students, from more diverse backgrounds, than any other sector in the American postsecondary system. Although tuition and fees at community colleges are less expensive than in other sectors, students still struggle to cover their full cost of attendance, which totals approximately $17,000 per year.
There is a growing body of research showing that students’ ability to pay non-tuition costs during college – including textbooks, transportation, food, and housing – is an important factor in student success. Students whose resources do not stretch far enough to cover these costs must make choices that undermine their academic success, such as foregoing required textbooks or working long hours rather than studying. Financial aid from federal, state, and even institutional sources can help students cover expenses while avoiding harmful tradeoffs, and research consistently demonstrates that aid facilitates student enrollment and success.
ACCT and TICAS partnered with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) to further investigate the role of financial resources and financial aid in supporting student success. The CCCCO has been a national leader in data transparency and measuring student achievement. The system’s Student Success Scorecard tracks and makes public how well colleges are doing in remedial instruction, job training programs, retention of students, and graduation and completion rates. This paper uses CCCCO data to go beyond existing analyses and identify interactions between federal and state financial aid programs, student resources, and academic success.
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