Disadvantaged and Disengaged? How Financial Constraints Impact College Experiences and Success for Low-Income Students
Lauren Schudde

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
Access to higher education has been substantially democratized, but socioeconomic inequities in graduation rates persist. Colleges aim to promote engagement with college life for students of all backgrounds but have little sense of which factors increase engagement or how engagement impacts attainment. Financial constraints affect time allocation, reactions to college life, and decisions to stay in school. My dissertation capitalizes on an experiment with a mixed-method design to examine whether reducing income constraints enhances engagement. Specifically, I estimate a set of causal relations between financial aid, engagement, and student outcomes by leveraging the experiment and quasi-experimental methods. I also explore how measuring engagement affects estimates by comparing survey measures to measures from exploratory research using text messaging. Overall, this dissertation brings an uncommonly rigorous empirical focus to engagement among disadvantaged college students.
About Lauren Schudde

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