Date of this Version
The purpose of this case study was to determine the impact of the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program on the persistence of the Hispanic students who participated. Previous research on Hispanic student persistence has focused on the reasons why students do not persist and more recent research has been conducted on programs and retention efforts, colleges and universities are implementing on their campuses. This study researched a specific program, The South Omaha Community Scholarship Program, designed to provide financial, academic and other needed resources to help Hispanic students persist to graduation. The researcher believes this study was important because it provided an overview of how the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program is affecting students both on campus and in their community.
Eight interviews were conducted, with eligible students, in person. Students eligible for the study were current students or recent graduates of the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program and had attained at least junior or senior status as of the fall of 2009, as defined by Bellevue University. Research questions were based on the four components of the program and the affect the program had on the student’s life, outside of Bellevue University. The four components of the program were: financial aid, academic advising, the scholarship aid, and the Professional Enrichment Program. The results of the study were broken into five components with an additional section that provided other themes that were derived from the interviews. The five components were: (a) financial aid counseling, (b) academic advising, (c) scholarship aid, (d) Professional Enrichment Program, and (e) the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program beyond Bellevue University. Other themes that were derived from the interviews were: class format, deciding on a college, higher education class, campus resources, and a sense of community on-campus.
The research found that the scholarship, provided by the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program, was the primary motivating factor for students to attend Bellevue University and persist in college. The interviewed students also commented on how the scholarship had given them the opportunity to attend college, even though that opportunity had seemed out of reach.
The interviewed students also commented on their academic advising experience, campus resources, and feeling a sense of community on-campus as other campus related areas that were affected by the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program. Finally, students provided examples of how the South Omaha Community Scholarship Program impacted their connection to their South Omaha community through volunteer and employment opportunities.
Adviser: Richard Hoover