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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Michael Elium

Second Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Third Committee Member

Dawn Mabalon


The purpose of this study was to analyze factors AVID students perceive as important in making financial decisions about paying for college. This study analyzed the factors college-bound students perceive as important in making decisions about paying for college. Trends in higher education include the rising cost of attendance, longer degree completion time, and the lagging purchasing power of federal grant funding. Existing data has delivered student perceptions regarding college access, affordability, and retention. The researcher framed the study using the human investment capital model. This model is grounded in the basic theory that education is an investment that will provide greater social and financial mobility in the future. The human capital theory coupled with benefits of a college education help guide the research and collects data that capture factors students perceive as important about making financial decisions regarding paying for college. From the data, it was evident that AVID students were seeking to maximize their higher education opportunities. Many students applied to as many as seven colleges while examining tradeoffs of college costs, the impact of financial aid offers, and ways to reduce the total costs. The factors students perceived as important in making financial decisions about paying for college could be put into three categories; tradeoffs, offered financial aid, and reducing the total cost. Students reported that the total cost of education was more important than peer and family approval of their school, academic reputation, and time to degree. However, the location of the school and the social and networking opportunities were more important than the total costs of the school. Conclusions from the study are students would rather attend a school that has less prestige and take longer to earn their degree if the total cost was aligned accordingly. Yet, the location and the networking and social experiences were not worth sacrificing for the students. Students were not willing to attend an institution with a less desirable location or fewer social opportunities even if the costs were minimal. The data say that an important factor for AVID students is the amount of financial aid they will receive.





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