Examining the Association of Financial Aid Factors on the Persistence of Latina/o College Students at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: A Discrete-Time Hazard Model
Financial aid is found to be associated with student persistence outcomes in higher education, yet few studies have attempted to understand the relationship financial aid has on Latina/o college student degree attainment at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship across time between financial aid and persistence, and whether the effects of the relationship differed for Latina/o students compared to their racial/ethnic peers. The study uses a twelve term person-period institutional dataset from a large public four-year HSI in Texas. This study draws on Nora's (2003) Student Institution/Engagement model and uses discrete-time hazard modeling to examine the longitudinal association of financial aid factors on the degree attainment for first-time Latina/o students enrolled at a HSI.
Results indicate that for Latina/o students at this HSI financial aid is related to their ability to graduate, and these effects are experienced differently when compared to their White counterparts. Latina/o students receiving state grant aid had a higher likelihood of graduating than their White peers. The results show that a Latina/o student's odds of graduating increases 35% for each additional $1,000 of state grant aid that is awarded. To increase Latina/o degree attainment, these findings make a strong case for the state of Texas to increase state aid for Latina/o college students at HSIs. These findings also highlight the role of external environmental factors on Latina/o student outcomes that tends to get overlooked, but are used to assess how HSIs are "serving" Latina/o students.