Performance-based Scholarship and Timely Graduation
This paper discusses the methods that can be used to collect data on a study concerning the impact of scholarships on education. It argues that merit-based scholarships have a positive influence on academic performance of the students and thus ensure that they graduate within the 4 to five years as required. The introduction section discusses the importance of education financial aid and introduces the topic of study. The literature review section highlights the findings on previous studies concerned with the link between nature of scholarships and timely graduation. The section on mechanism and theory highlights the main concepts and assumptions guiding the study. The methodology section defines the research design that will be used in conducting the study as well as the data collection methods. The research will incorporate dependent, independent and control variables to make the findings more accurate. The paper concludes by highlighting the reasons that will make the study findings reliable.
Performance-based scholarship and timely graduation
The high cost of living in the economy today has affected all sectors including education. To secure a well-paying job in future, students need to develop knowledge and skills necessary to pursue different careers. Education is one of the most important tools in promoting the social, economic, and political aspects of a nation, yet it is not accessible to all students. The high cost of education has made it difficult for students from low-income backgrounds to access the same. Students who do not have adequate funds to pay for tuition are hence forced to seek scholarships and grants to achieve their education. Such students must convince their sponsors that they are worth the assistance by showing exceptional academic performance. However, there are other instances where the scholarships and grants are based on other factors such economic status of the individuals rather than their academic performance. Based on the nature of the scholarship program, the rate of graduation among the students varies. The scholarships that are based on performance encourage high academic performance and the rates of graduation are higher than in the need-based ones. The current study is based on the hypothesis that scholarships based on performance promote timely graduation compared to need-based or no scholarships.
According to a study conducted by Ganem and Manasse (2011), the ability of the students to become persistent in education promotes their academic success. The authors cite that the persistence is determined by consistent enrollment of students in school. The other fact that defines academic success of the students is timely graduation due to reduced incidences of withdrawal from education as well as repeating. The number of years that students spend before completing their studies is dependent on the commitment of the students in academic work. The nature of financial aid provided to the students determines their commitment to achieving high grades. The merit-based scholarships influence academic performance positively thus reducing the number of years that students take before they graduate. On the other hand, need-based scholarships do not focus on the academic performance of the students and they may lack commitment in education.
Cha and Patel (2010) conducted a study in Ohio to establish the link between merit-based scholarships and academic performance of the individuals. They concluded that merit-based scholarships motivate the students to work hard so that they can continue enjoying the financial aid and this reduces the number of years they spend on school. The students are only allowed to access the financial aid when they reach certain standards of academic performance. The academic performance of the students is determined by variables such as standardized examinations and the grade point aggregate. The students who receive the merit-based education aid have to ensure that their performance in standardized performance and GPA is high. This is not the case with the need-based scholarships because the students are able to access the financial aid regardless of their academic performance. Such students indicate high rates of school dropout and at times, they may be required to repeat classes (Ganem and Manasse, 2011).
Research conducted by Johnson and Collins (2009), indicate that students from low-income families are more likely to have a part time job while still in school because of high economic demands. In most cases, the pressure to earn high income may tempt such individuals to work for long hours, reducing the amount of time spent in school. The study concluded that students from low-income families have lower chances of graduating in time because they have to balance economic and academic pressure. These students are mostly funded by the need-based scholarships. The need to earn income exceeds the need to achieve high academic results. Although academic performance of students is greatly influenced by financial aid, there are other features such as family background and race (Redlinger et al., 2008). However, it is clear that the type of scholarship that the students receive determines their commitment in education and consequently the time taken before they graduate.
Mechanism and theory
The study is based on a theoretical framework that links academic performance to the nature of financial aid received by the students. Financial aid that the students receive helps them pay their tuition fees thus they are able to spend most of the time in school. Students who receive merit-based scholarships tend to spend most of their time studying because they must achieve high academic achievement. The students have to study more to ensure that they continue receiving the financial aid. One of the factors that contribute to academic success of students is diligence in schoolwork. Due to the high pressure to achieve high academic grades, students who receive merit-based scholarships work diligently and this enhances their academic advancement. The chances of such students graduating within the stipulated timeframe of 4 to 5 years are high due to academic advancement.
The mechanism or application of research is based on the fact that students are more likely to achieve higher grades when the scholarships are based on merit rather than need. The financial aid provided by the sponsors act as the motivation for the students to work harder thus reducing the time they spend in school. The monetary assistance that the students receive reduces chances of dropping out of school due to financial reasons. The students thus have adequate time to concentrate on their studies, leading to academic excellence. High academic achievement reduces the time that the students spend in school because of the reduced incidences of withdrawal and repeating courses due to poor performance. Awarding scholarships to students on the basis of merit is one of the most suitable ways that educators can use to enhance academic performance of students due to increased diligence in academics. The dependent variable will be timely graduation because it is controlled by the nature of scholarships. The independent variable will be merit-based performance because it affects the number of years a student spends in school. The control variable includes social factors such as race and family background of the students.
To determine whether there exists a positive relationship between merit-based scholarships and timely graduation, data will be collected from Southern Utah University. The sample population will comprise of students pursuing undergraduate courses in the institution. The main variable that will be considered in the data collection exercise is the number of semesters that the students have been in school relative to the required semesters. Other control factors that affect student performance such as race will also be considered.
The study aims at approving or disapproving the hypothesis that merit-based scholarships lead to timely graduation rates by the students. To achieve this, quantitative method is the most suitable research design. The design helps in defining the relationship between the variables in the study. In the current study, the design will be useful in defining the relationship between timely graduation (dependent variable) and merit-based performance (independent variable). The design will descriptive rather than experimental so as to enhance understanding of the relationship between the two variables. To enhance accuracy of the data collected, the study will be based on a large sample size. Data collection tool will be surveys, where students who have graduated in the past four years from Southern Utah University will be requested to fill in online survey forms. They will be required to provide information about the time it took them to graduate and type of scholarship they received. The survey will use short questions to collect the necessary data from the population, which will be randomly selected to avoid bias. The questions will be based on the control, independent and dependent variables. The independent variable will be determined by the academic performance of the students in the standardized tests in all the semesters. The number of semesters that the students repeated and the total time taken to complete the course will indicate the dependent variable.
The quality of research design used in the study guarantees high quality results because it will help identify the link between the two variables. The use of control variables in the study also enhances the quality of research by enabling the researcher to analyze the dependent and independent variables comprehensively. The nature of study population will also lead to collection of high quality data that is relevant to the study. The study is important in improving the education sector because it will identify whether sponsors should increase merit-based scholarships to promote commitment of students in education.
Cha, P., & Patel, R. (2010). Rewarding progress, reducing debt: Early results from the performance-based scholarship demonstration in Ohio. MDRC, October.
Ganem, N. M., & Manasse, M. (2011). The relationship between scholarships and student success: An art and design case study. Education Research International, 2011.
Johnson, T., & Collins, S. (2009). Low-Income Student Persistence to Timely Graduation as a Function of the Academic Experience. Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice.
Redlinger, L. J., Etheredge, M. S., Zhao, M. X., & Stigdon, M. A. (2008). Identifying student and institutional factors that contribute to undergraduate student success.