Deborah Warnock joined the Sociology Department at Skidmore College as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2010. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in July of 2010. Her dissertation research, for which she has received grants from the West Coast Poverty Center and the Association for Institutional Research, examines parents’ perceptions of paying for college and the effects of these perceptions on students’ college expectations and preparedness behaviors in high school. In future work she plans to examine the extent to which students’ social integration on college campuses affects their labor market outcomes.
When Does Money Matter? Examining the Effect of Parents’ Perceptions of Financial Aid on Students’ College Expectations, Preparedness, and Enrollment
Faculty Supervisor: Barbara F. Reskin, Department of Sociology
Research has shown that parents’ knowledge of and access to financial aid affect students’ college enrollment and completion rates (Dynarski 2003; St. John, Paulsen and Carter 2005; Perna 2000). Further study is needed, however, on the effect of parents’ perceptions of financial aid opportunities on the earlier stages of the college choice process, including student’s educational expectations, academic track and performance in high school, and steps toward preparing for and applying to college. To conduct these analyses I propose to use the first four waves of the National Education Longitudinal Study which track nearly 12,000 students from 1988 when they were in the eighth grade to 1994, two years after their scheduled high school graduation. Controlling for individual and school level variables, I will use logistic regression models to estimate the effect of parents’ perceptions of financial aid on students’ educational expectations, school track and performance, likelihood of taking the SAT and applying to college, and the selectivity of the chosen college. I will also conduct analyses to determine how students’ race and socioeconomic origins interact to affect the impact of parents’ financial aid perceptions on students’ educational outcomes. By examining the role of financial aid information early in the college choice process, this research will contribute to the development of a more thorough theoretical model of college choice and will provide policy implications for increasing college readiness and enrollment among low-income students and students of color.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Skimore College.