Money doesn’t buy happiness for community college students in Louisiana, according to an American Institutes for Research study. That is: Pell Grants and Other Financial Aid Have No Significant Impact on Academic Success.
Not surprisingly, academic preparation is a stronger predictor of success than financial aid.
“These findings raise fundamental questions about how to address the needs of students who are not college ready. Many students who need developmental education have less than a one in 10 chance of succeeding. Admitting them to community college may not be fair to students, many whom have taken time out of the labor market, paid tuition and taken loans to finance their education. It may also not be fair to taxpayers, who pay for the state subsidies to community colleges and other state aid programs,” said Mark Schneider, co-author of the report and a vice president at AIR.
Success was measured by earning a certificate or an associate’s degree within three years of enrolling as a first-time full-time student, or transferring to a four-year university in the state. While 28 percent of non-remedial students earned a credential or transferred in three years, taking even one developmental education course cut student success rates in half.
Students with Pell grants succeeded at slightly lower rates than similar students without grants.