The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Emeka Ikegwuonu

Third Advisor

Dr. Brittany Williams

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Jones

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

financial aid, emergency grant, grant, persistence, retention, college


I conducted a correlational quantitative study to determine whether an emergency grant program at a four-year public institution is correlated with increased student persistence, and if students’ socioeconomic status and race are correlated with their likelihood to persist after receiving an emergency grant. I studied how students’ demographics influenced persistence rates based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, first-generation status, age and grade level. I found that Black or African students, students 24 years and older, and first-year students had significantly lower persistence rates than other categories of students after receiving the emergency grant. In comparison, white students, students 23 years or younger, and junior and senior level students had significantly higher persistence rates after receiving the emergency grant compared to other student demographic categories. There were no statistically significant persistence differences for students based on Pell grant eligibility, first-generation status, gender, or other racial categories. This study expands the existing literature on emergency grant programs by adding to the limited research on emergency grant programs at the four-year college level. The results of this study support the continuation of the emergency grant program and inform current emergency grant policies and practices with the goal of further improving college student persistence rates.


I first want to thank my advisor and committee chair, Dr. Jennifer Jones. I could not have asked for a more supportive and understanding advisor to help guide me through this process and get me where I am today. Dr. Jones somehow always found time for me in her busy schedule and truly made this process as painless as possible. No words can describe how appreciative I am of her support and words of encouragement. I also want to thank my dissertation committee: Dr. Emeka Ikegwuonu, Dr. Brittany Williams, and Dr. Brian Jones. Their feedback, edits, and advice helped me become a better researcher and a better writer.

Thank you to all the faculty and staff in the Higher Education Administration program for giving me the information, guidance, and feedback to improve as a writer and a student. A special thanks to the Statistical Consulting and Research Center at St. Cloud State University, specifically Ibrahim Soumare, for his assistance with the statistics for this study. Ibrahim spent countless hours this summer teaching me about logistic regressions and I will be forever grateful of his patience and understanding. Thank you as well to Jake Wellington for his expert statistics advice and helping me understand what questions to ask.

Thank you to Cohort 12 for being my support system and my cheer squad, especially to my fellow BABBs (you know who you are!). Thank you to Dr. Hillary Gokey and Dr. Deb Allen for keeping me on track as I tried to keep up with them both. And thank you to Dr. Marah Jacobson-Schulte for paving the way and sharing their excellent advice and mentorship.

Thank you to Carolyn Nelson for your expert advice and information on emergency grant programs. Thank you to all my coworkers in the financial aid office, especially to my supervisors, Craig Sanderson and Elizabeth Whitcomb, for supporting me in this graduate program. Thank you to my wonderful V-1 Team for being their amazing selves and understanding when my brain was not at 100%. Being a full-time employee and a full-time student is not easy, and I could not have achieved this without their support.

Thank you to my network of friends for keeping me sane and giving me mental escapes from my dissertation stress. A special thanks to Rae and Will Frame, Renee and Hassan Bouchareb, Caro Smith, Briana Rausch, the Quaranteam, and my countless other amazing friends. I am so lucky to have such incredible people in my life.

Thank you to my amazing spouse, Jake. I could not have asked for a better partner and support system. Thank you for always being willing to take on extra household chores and providing extra support and reassurance when I needed it the most. And of course, thank you to Chance M. Sherlock and Watson P. D. Sherlock for their impeccable comedic timing and unlimited cuddles when I need a pick-me-up.

Thank you to my Mom for always being a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear. Finally, thank you to my Dad for giving me this dream in the first place. We talked about this day since preschool, and it kills me every day that you aren’t here to see it happen. Dad- this one is for you. I love you.



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