Dr. Lindsay Page and Benjamin Castleman from the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University are this year’s recipients of NASFAA’s 2012 Sponsored Research Grant Program, which supports financial aid research. The 2011-12 Research Committee selected Page and Castlemen’s proposal for their unique work on reducing summer melt, the attrition that occurs after high school graduation and before matriculating to college. According to these researchers, successful fall college matriculation requires completion of several tasks during the summer. Many of these tasks, such as obtaining additional financial aid and properly interpreting one’s tuition bill, can be particularly challenging for low-income students who no longer have access to high school counselors, may lack familiarity with resources at their intended college, and whose families may lack experience with the college-going process.
Page and Castleman will examine how their summer outreach program decreases the possible summer melt phenomenon of low-income, college-intending students. A randomized controlled trial conducted in three urban school districts in Massachusetts. They expect that the offer of outreach and support will increase rates of timely college enrollment.
Upon completion of the study, Page and Castleman will submit their findings to the Journal of Student Financial Aid.
The purpose of the Sponsored Research Grant is to support the study and development of quantifiable information that can be used to inform legislators, institutional administrators, and others who make significant decisions regarding student aid issues. Financial aid administrators, college faculty, graduate students, researchers and scholars at non-profit organizations are invited to submit proposals.
The deadline for applications was Sunday, April 15, 2012. Applications will be considered by the NASFAA Research Committee, and awards will be announced in May 2012.
Sponsored Research Grants are awarded to assist recipients in covering direct project costs, including temporary assistance, printing, postage, data entry, computer time, and preparation of papers and reports. Grants are not intended to provide a salary or stipend for the grant recipient. Grants are not awarded for program start-up expenses. Projects that involve experimental activities and new initiatives should emphasize evaluation of program effectiveness. Past grants have ranged from $250 to $5,000. NASFAA generally requires that authors adapt their work for publication in either Student Aid Transcript or the Journal of Student Financial Aid, or to present findings at NASFAA-sponsored events.
Examples of previously funded projects include An Evaluation of How the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Has Affected African American Student Success; Development of a Model to Assess the Effects of Financial Factors on Career Choice for Students in the Health Professions; and The Use of Federal College Tuition Tax Credits at Community Colleges: A Capacity-Building Policy Analysis.