Too Stressed to Persist to Graduation: Accessing Financial Aid at a Historically Black University (HBU) in Texas

Tammy Dee Lane



Inadequate financial aid adversely affects students’ persistence through college graduation. This qualitative study at a Historically Black University (HBU) in the Southwestern region employed purposive sampling to examine 10 former students’ perception of financial aid accessibility and its impact on their non-persistence status. Barriers impeding financial aid accessibility and persistence to graduation are shared.  Data collection consisted of recorded responses from open-end questions. A thorough analysis of participant interviews and findings confirmed the existence of barriers obstructing financial aid accessibility and contribute to the phenomena of non-persistence.  The emergent themes significantly contribute to research that informs higher education practitioners and policy makers. In particular, this study serves as a stimulus for dialogue about the need to implement systems and strategies that ensure financial aid support to persistence through graduation at historically Black colleges and universities.

Keywords: financial aid packages, non-persistence, barriers, need-based and merit-based financial aid, loan debt, allocation formulas, HBCUs, PWIs

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