Financial aid and student persistence in online education in the United States

Adnan Qayyum, Sarah Zipf, Ramazan Gungor, Janet May Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Distance education has historically had lower completion rates. Several models of persistence, for on-campus students, indicate that students’ financial status affects their decision to persist. This study involved providing distance education students’ financial aid in the form of institutional scholarships (N = 545) at Penn State University in the United States. The recipients were students who were not overachievers and not at-risk of failing, but somewhere in the middle. The purpose of the study was to test if receiving financial aid was related to students’ persistence. Using logistic regression and Chi-square analysis, this study found that scholarship-receiving students with higher financial need were two times more likely to persist in their studies than those with lower financial need. Results suggest that there is a positive relationship between providing even small financial aid to students with high-financial need and their persistence in their studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages12
JournalDistance Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan. 2019


  • Persistence
  • completion
  • financial aid
  • policy


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