Experiences and perceptions of financial responsibilities pertaining to adult undergraduate students living in University Apartments at Ball State

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Densmore, Alexandria R.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of the financial aid process and the actual experiences of adult undergraduate students living in the University Apartments who used these services at Ball State University. With the increasing need for financial assistance among adult learners, the financial aid process becomes a necessary element in obtaining higher education.Participants were selected from a list of adult students living on campus during the summer 2003 semester, provided by the Office of Student Affairs. From the list, calls were made and students were asked if they met the studies' criteria. Students who selfidentified as being 23 years of age or older and active users of the financial aid system were then asked to participate in the study. Individual interviews were setup with students who agreed to participate.Data was collected via personal interviews conducted in a conference room located in the University Apartments Community Room. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The transcriptions were then analyzed to look for emerging themes. The interviews were semi-structured with questions being devised with the suggestions of financial aid experts. The interview guide included questions that were used to gain information regarding the experiences and perceptions of financial responsibilities pertaining to on-campus adult students at Ball State University.Results of the study suggested that due to vigorous course requirements, family responsibilities and career obligations many adult students did not feel as though they had sufficient time to research information on the financial aid programs available to adult students. These students preferred information about financial aid be provided for them by the university. In addition, findings concluded that a heightened number of adult students on college campuses have begun to generate the need for new student orientation programs to familiarize this unique group of students with the resources available to them on college campuses.Conclusions of the study identified the need for having a solid understanding of the experiences and perceptions of these students, as well as the learning styles that best suit this group. Accomplishing this would assist financial aid counselors in developing comprehensive financial aid programs that benefit these students. Creating seamless learning that connects both in and out of the classroom experiences for all students would also be advantageous to both students and administration.In addition to aiding college student personnel with the understanding of this campus sub-culture, data produced from this study could serve as a gateway to the further development of awareness programs targeted towards the needs of adult students.