Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Mario Martinez

Number of Pages



Since 1991, seventeen states have dramatically altered the criteria they use to distribute student financial aid to include a larger proportion of merit-based awards. Across these states, the amounts and lengths of the awards vary. There are states, such as Georgia and Florida, which provide full tuition and fees for four or five years, depending on the program of study. In sharp contrast, Michigan's Merit Award Scholarship is a one time {dollar}2,500 award. States also differ in terms of the selection criteria used to award merit aid a quasi-experimental interrupted and pooled time series design derived from research on public budgeting, this research investigates the linkage between merit aid and participation by sector (public and private) and level (two- and four-year) in states and institutions. In this study, merit aid is characterized into three main categories: full tuition, partial tuition, and one-time payment of awards. Interrupted time series is applied to these three categories, to discern whether there are differences in merit aid programs and their effects on enrollment by sector and level. In addition, pooled time series analysis is utilized to examine the effects of these programs by aid category across states, sectors and levels; Findings indicate that the adoption of a merit aid policy significantly changed enrollment in 9 of the 15 states investigated in this study. While the results were mixed, generally, states experienced a greater long term positive effect than negative or short term effects, indicating that more students take advantage of the programs over time. Full tuition payment policies had a short term significant effect on enrollment in the 4-year public sector analysis. However, partial tuition payment policies had a significant positive long and short term effect on the 2-year public sector. This finding supports earlier work that theorized that merit aid encourages students who might not otherwise enroll to do so.


Aid; Analysis; Education; Effects; Evaluating; Financial Aid; Higher Education; Merit; Merit Aid; Policy; State Policy; Time; Time Series Analysis

Controlled Subject

Education, Higher; School management and organization; Education--Finance

File Format


File Size

4229.12 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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