Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Jay Brand

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Sylvia Gonzalez

Abstract

Problem

The rising cost of getting a college or university degree gives millions of students “sticker shock” each year, and paying off student debt has only grown more difficult over time (Liberto, 2012). The College Board, a nonprofit group that runs the SAT exam, indicates that over the past decade, the average annual tuition for community college has risen 40% to $3,122 while the yearly cost at a four-year public university has risen 68% to $7,692. The escalating cost of higher education has inevitably influenced students’ choice of college or university (Felton, 2012). These high tuition costs make a college education unaffordable for some prospective students (Kim, DesJardins, & McCall, 2009). Escalating tuition and diminishing college affordability pose financial barriers or hardship particularly for the underprivileged student population (Ellwood & Kane, 2000; Kim et al., 2009). In this scenario, students may be looking for colleges with financial incentives in order to minimize student debt. In an effort to understand these trends in the context of private institutions, this study examines the role of financial incentives in students’ matriculation choices in selected private Michigan universities.

Method

This study adopted the correlational approach and the participants were students selected from private universities in Michigan. Simple random sampling was used to choose the universities for the study. These four universities were chosen randomly for the study: Spring Arbor University, Andrews University, University of Detroit—Mercy, and Concordia University—Ann Arbor. The sample consisted of 390 students conveniently selected from the total number of students in those selected institutions. A survey was the main method of data collection. The data gathered was analyzed using SPSS statistics software and tabulated and summarized using appropriate elaborative descriptions.

Results

The following comprises a summary of the three major findings in this study. 1. In general, mixed results were observed regarding possible relationship between student demographic characteristics and students’ perceptions about choice of higher education institutions among students attending selected private universities in Michigan. 2. It was generally observed that there were mixed results about the relationship between personal/family incomes and perceptions of student choice of higher education institution among students at selected private Michigan universities. 3. It was generally observed that there were mixed results about the relationship between financial incentives (student loans, tuition and fees, scholarships or other financial aid, and grants) and perceptions of student choice of higher education institution among students in selected private Michigan universities.

Conclusions

Based on the research findings of this study as substantiated by empirical data, the following conclusions were drawn: 1. The first hypothesis was not entirely rejected that there is no significant relationship between student demographic characteristics and Perceptions of Student Choice of higher education institution among students at selected private Michigan universities. 2. The second hypothesis was not entirely rejected that there is no significant relationship between personal/family incomes and Perceptions of Student Choice in higher education institution among students at selected private Michigan universities. 3. The third hypothesis was not entirely rejected that there is no significant relationship between most of the financial incentives (student loans, tuition and fees, and grants) and Perceptions of Student Choice of higher education institution among students in selected private Michigan universities. Specifically, results suggested there may be some relationship between total financial aid and the perceptions of student choice in selected private Michigan universities.

Subject Area

Education, Higher--Costs, Universities and colleges--Michigan, Student loans--Michigan, Student loans--Michigan, Student aid--Michigan

Share

COinS