June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
WIP: The Impacts of Scholarships on Engineering Students’ Motivation
This work in progress paper will describe our initial efforts in examining how receiving a scholarship influences engineering students’ motivation. A student’s persistence and success in engineering depends on multiple academic, institutional, and personal factors. That said, no student can persist to graduation if they cannot pay their tuition. As such, financial need and socioeconomic status are a significant factors in determining the likelihood of a student graduating from an engineering program. Moreover, average student loan debt is increasing nationally, with engineering students often required to pay premium tuition, potentially leading to greater debt loads. A variety of programs, including federally-funded programs such as the NSF Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program, have sought to address these issues by providing scholarships to offset student expenses.
We hypothesize that the impacts of receiving a scholarship on the scholarship recipient may, however, go beyond simply alleviating financial stress or displacing the need to work or take out student loans. Indeed, we posit that by considering students’ motivation as measured at multiple intervals throughout college, researchers may be able to describe more fully the relation between scholarship receipt and persistence to graduation. Such an understanding would be beneficial for both faculty who work with engineering students and administrators who seek to support them. In this work, we are applying quantitative methods to assess the impacts of scholarships on the motivation of engineering students at a large, research-intensive university in the Midwest. Our research is examining three research questions:
RQ1) How do motivational characteristics (e.g., self-efficacy, interest in engineering) differ when comparing scholarship recipients and non-recipients? RQ2) Among scholarship recipients, what are the impacts of scholarship receipt on motivation? RQ3) What are the mechanisms by which scholarships influence students’ motivation?
Our approach will combine longitudinal data from biannual surveys of engineering students with registrar and financial aid data. With a sample size of 6,366 students, we anticipate being able to further classify students based on their anticipated financial need (High, Medium, Low, No), as determined by the financial aid office. In doing so, we hope to preliminarily assess whether the impacts of scholarships are different for merit-based awards (more likely among Low and No need students) and need-based awards (more likely among High and Medium need students). The current study will thus inform future programmatic and financial initiatives to support engineering student motivation and success.
Bovee, E., & Lira, A. K., & Lawson, H. D., & Briedis, D., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., & Walton, S. P. (2019, June), Work in Progress: The Impacts of Scholarships on Engineering Students’ Motivation Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33654
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