EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INSTITUTIONAL REVENUE PATTERNS, STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PACKAGES, AND DEGREE COMPLETION FROM A MULTILEVEL PERSPECTIVE
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This study utilized data from the 2004 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) and 2004-2009 Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) study to examine the extent to which institutional revenue patterns influence the relationship between college completion and first-year financial aid packages. It drew from resource dependence and financial aid theories to examine the research questions. Multilevel statistical techniques, specifically hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM), were used to estimate the effects of individual- and institutional-level variables on college completion. This research makes a contribution to the literature by highlighting the effect of institutional financial context on the relationship between college completion and student financial aid at the national level. The main findings suggest that the relationship between student completion and financial aid packages varies based on institutional revenue patterns. Specifically, students who receive financial aid packages with the highest proportion of loans at institutions with a high percent of revenue from tuition and fees benefit less, with regard to their chance of completion, than students at institutions without a high percent of revenue from tuition and fees. Additionally, students who receive financial aid packages with the highest proportion of grants and loans at institutions with a high level of revenue from state government appropriations benefit less from relatively high grants and loans, in terms of their chances of completion, than students at institutions without a high level of revenue from state government appropriations. The implications of these findings deal with the distribution of institutional resources on campuses that are mostly dependent on state government appropriations. The study's results suggest that public support for higher education may become increasingly important if student-specific financial aid resources decline.