Date of Award

Spring 2-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Vivian Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Tracy McGrady


Financial instability is a common fiscal burden for many community college students and can serve as primary barrier to educational success (Quaye & Harper, 2015). Although traditional financial aid is structured to assist students in financing college expenses, many low-income students often face financial emergencies beyond the scope of financial aid (Johnson, 2015). These financial emergencies have been specifically identified as serious obstacles to educational success and have prompted many institutions to establish student emergency financial assistance programs (Geckeler, Beach, Pih, & Yan, 2008). This study explored one student emergency financial assistance program at a public community college and the impact it had on student success, persistence, and completion rates. Although findings from the study lacked positive statistical significance, it could be argued that students who received emergency financial assistance lacked a chance to achieve successful academic outcomes. The association of financial emergencies, to low academic performance (Cady, 2014), coupled with heightened negative impacts of students’ financial circumstances to educational success (Bean & Metzner, 1985), and the absence of a comprehensive emergency financial assistance program structure at the studied institution (Goldrick-Rab, Broton, & Frank, 2014) all contributed to study findings. These findings imply changes to the structure of emergency financial assistance programs which promote comprehensive services to students, align social and educational policy, and have complete institutional support (Baum, McDemmond, & Jones, 2014).


Copyright 2016