Money Matters: The Influence of Financial Factors on Graduate Student Persistence

    Vol. 40 No. 3, 2010 p. 4 

    by Terrell L. Strayhorn

    National statistics indicate that approximately 50 percent of all graduate students fail to complete their degree; thus, understanding the factors that influence their persistence is an important research objective. Using data from a nationally representative sample of bachelor's degree recipients, the study aimed to answer three questions: What proportion of 1992-1993 bachelor's degree recipients enrolled in graduate school by 2003? Of those, what proportion persisted in graduate school? Controlling for background and academic differences, what effect do financial factors have on persistence in graduate school? Descriptive and hierarchal binomial logistic regression results suest that 36 percent of bachelor's degree recipients has enrolled in a graduate program by 2003; 74 percent of initial enrollees has persisted by 2003, and financial factors (e.g., total loan, tuition reduction, deferment status) were related to persistence. Implications for future policy, practice, and research are highlighted.