An Examination of the Effects of Student Aid on Credential Attainment in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs in a Rural Iowa Community College
Wood, Laura L.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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As companies struggle to fill positions that require skilled technical workers with some training and education beyond high school, the higher education system is also wrestling with student success and completion. One cannot be achieved without the other, and uncovering the secret to credential attainment is critical to filling this workforce shortage. This explanatory mixed-methods study analyzed the quantitative relationships between student aid and credential attainment, while semi-structured interviews with former students aimed to uncover the extent to which students recognized aid as a contributor to their success. In Phase 1, the resulting chi-squared test of association indicated a statistically significant association between aid and credential attainment in the entire sample (n = 4,898). However, when the sample was reduced to five specific CTE programs (n = 302), the chi-squared test of association results were not statistically significant, likely due to the small sample size. The resulting Cramers’ V indicated a weak association for both populations. The Phase 2 capta from thirteen semi-structured interviews with former students resulted in four themes. Although a few students mentioned receiving student aid, none solely attributed aid for their successful credential attainment.