The Rise & Relationship Between Financial Aid and College Tuition

The title of our research project for the 2018-2019 academic year is: The Rise and Relationship Between Financial Aid and College Tuition. The purpose of our project is to understand if there is a correlation between the rise in college tuition with the amount of financial aid offered to students. If a relationship exists between these two events, we hope to understand how the level of subsidies impact tuition across the United States, as well as other countries worldwide.

Deriving this research topic, we have conducted literature review within our field and topic which allowed us to discover and understand the Bennett Hypothesis.  This hypothesis states that with an increase in financial aid comes an increase in college tuition.  Many economists in our research have argued that the Bennett Hypothesis is correct. They often use the same economic premise: providing a cost subsidy in the form of loans or grants will increase demand for higher education. As demand increases more quickly than supply, quantity will increase but so will prices. While this is true under basic economic theory, the U.S. economy is much more complex and many other factors are probably at play. This hypothesis is the starting point for our research project and will be the foundation our work builds from.

The objectives of for our research is as follows:

    • To critically assess the rise in college tuition and the increase in financial aid offered to students by the government, both nationally and internationally.
    • To classify and evaluate the operations of raising the cost of college tuition nationally and internationally.
    • To classify and evaluate the operations of providing financial aid to specific individuals nationally and internationally.
    • To evaluate any current methods being used to study financial aid and college tuition in the United States and internationally.
    • To make recommendations to further study the relationship of subsidies and college tuition across nations and the long-term effects of receiving financial aid.

In taking on this research project, we hope to learn and understand each step of how tuition is calculated by colleges and universities, how financial aid trends impact college and universities decisions on tuition, and how the relationship affects the decisions made by incoming and current college students. Additionally, we hope to obtain a better understanding on how the government and other outside scholarship and grant providers determine the amount awarded to students each year, as well as how and why this changes year to year.

Determining our research design, our blueprint will be following a descriptive design for our research. Descriptive design, which involves both qualitative and quantitative study, helps people provide answers to the questions of who, what, when, where, and how associated with a particular research problem. It is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena being research and what already exists. In carrying out our research and creating our project, we hope to connect existing studies and data with new observations and data to create the most accurate understanding and conclusion as possible. Being aware of all factors that affect each part of the tuition and financial aid relationship, our research design will capture the two ideas as independents to further understand if they are, or have become, interdependent. 

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