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Evaluating Increased Enrollment Levels in Institutions of Higher Education: A Look at Merit-Based Scholarship Programs

PAQ, Vol. 33 No. 1, (2009)

The academic literature assessing the impact of state merit-based scholarships on education has dealt primarily with issues of funding. Absent from the literature are studies measuring enrollment levels as a result of merit-based scholarships. This study attempts to fill a gap in the literature regarding merit-based scholarships and their impact on enrollment levels in institutions of higher education by answering the following research question: Are merit-based scholarships increasing the enrollment levels at institutions of higher education? This research will inform policy analysts, state legislators, and higher education administrators about any significant increases of students, as a result of merit-based scholarships, and allow them to recognize the need for infrastructure and personnel to adequately handle these enrollment levels. Secondary data analysis using an ARIMA model and a pooled time series cross sectional regression technique were the methodological choices employed in this research project. This study suggests that merit-based scholarships have had significant impacts on enrollment levels in institutions of higher education. By grouping all fourteen merit-based scholarship states together in one analysis, case specific scenarios between the states will be overlooked. Therefore, the data results may not capture independent anomalies as to why there are differences between merit-based scholarship states.

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