Date Available


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Year of Publication


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Willis Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Jane Jensen


Merit-based financial aid has long been utilized by college and university enrollment managers to attract the most academically qualified applicants for admission. Considerable research has been done to illustrate the impact of state-based merit aid programs and other scholarly pursuits have drawn attention to the consequences of merit aid on institutional investments in need-based aid. Less is known about the efficacy of merit aid to achieve college student enrollment objectives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between merit aid values and the likelihood of undergraduate student enrollment yield on offers of admission. The primary research question to be answered was: What is the relationship between the amount of merit aid students receive from a college or university and their enrollment decisions? The sample comprised 2,770 students at three private higher education institutions in the United States. Binary logistic regression and a forward selection process were used to test a range of possible predictors (e.g., sex, race, ethnicity, in-state residency, distance from home, academic qualifications, merit aid awards, and information from the financial aid applications of those offered admission) to determine the relative strength of merit aid in the prediction of student enrollment yield on offers of admission. The amount of merit aid offered was positively related to the likelihood of a student to enroll, even when academic qualifications and other student characteristics were controlled.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)