Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Stephanie Lezotte, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Tyrone McCombs, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Andrew Tinnin, Ed.D.


FAFSA, Financial Aid, Minoritized, Retention, Undergraduate, Verification


Student financial aid administration


Higher Education


The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine to what extent the undergraduate students from low socioeconomic and minoritized backgrounds are targeted by financial aid verification at Rowan University, as well as explore whether being selected for verification impacts students' cumulative grade point average (GPA) and first-year retention rate compared to students who are not selected. Analyses included frequencies and crosstabulations of the total undergraduate, degree/certificate-seeking student population (N = 15,976) and first-year, full-time student population enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester at Rowan University (N = 2,871). Results indicated minority students had a +12.7-percentage point gap to being selected, while White students showed a -5.9-percentage point gap. Low-income students were also the most targeted at 84.1% having an expected family contribution (EFC) below 8,000. A calculation of means difference was performed between the GPAs of first-year, full-time selected students and not selected students. Results found selected students on average had a lower GPA which showed statistical significance, yet there was no statistically significant difference in retention rates. However, the findings indicated a significant statistical impact between students' race/ethnicity for those selected for verification and their retention rates which highlights the need for targeted intervention methods and additional assistance during the verification process which is discussed.