Relationships between financial aid policies, practices and procedures at Texas public colleges and universities
The economic success of the state of Texas is dependent upon future market participants having access to higher education. The ability of Texas citizens to access higher education is dependent upon access to financial aid resources to pay for higher education. Much is known about the impact of particular financial aid outcomes on access and persistence in higher education. However, very little is known about whether institutional financial aid processes (i.e. the policies, practices and procedures used by financial aid administrators) affect financial aid outcomes for students. This is especially true in Texas. This study that follows was a retrospective study related to financial aid and student access to higher education. Specifically, the research examined the vii relationship between financial aid processes (policies, practices and procedures) and outcomes (financial aid awards) at Texas public institutions of higher education. The study explored (1) whether there were definable patterns in financial aid outcomes for students at Texas public institutions; (2) whether these patterns varied by institutional type; (3) whether there were patterns in the financial processes used by financial aid administrators at these institutions; (4) whether these patterns varied by institutional type; and (5) whether there were definable relationships between the financial aid outcomes and the processes used by financial aid administrators at Texas public institutions. To investigate these questions, the researcher (1) extracted and analyzed financial aid award data obtained from the statewide Financial Aid Database System (FADS) maintained by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; (2) surveyed financial aid administrators at Texas public colleges and universities regarding institutional financial aid processes (survey derived from the 2001 Survey of Undergraduate Financial Aid Policies, Practices and Procedures (SUFAPP) developed by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators); and (3) identified financial aid award outcomes and determined from the survey database whether definable patterns of institutional financial aid processes existed. This research was significant as it examined relationships between processes (institutional policies, practices and procedures) and outcomes (financial aid awards to students) and provided structural models illustrating those viii relationships which (1) were state specific and (2) would be useful to financial aid administrators in evaluating the impact of their processes on outcomes for their students.