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How Low Income Undergraduates Financed Postsecondary Education:1992-93


This report describes how low income undergraduatesthat is, undergraduates whose family income was below 125 percent of the federally established poverty threshold for their family sizefinance their postsecondary education. It examines dependent, single independent, and independent students with dependents separately. First, the report describes the demographic characteristics and enrollment patterns of low income students and compares them with other undergraduates. It then examines their financial need, the kinds and amounts of financial aid they received, and the relationship between financial aid and cost. Next, it describes two important sources of support other than financial aid: parental support and work. Finally, the report examines persistence and attainment among low income students who enrolled in postsecondary education for the first time in 198990.

The report uses data primarily from the 199293 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93), a survey designed to answer fundamental questions about financial aid and to detail undergraduates education expenses, sources, and types of financial aid. The report also uses data from NPSAS:90 and the Beginning Postsecondary Student Longitudinal Study (BPS: 90/94), which followed a sample of students identified in NPSAS:90 as first-time beginning postsecondary students in the 198990 academic year.

The estimates in this report were produced using the (NCES) Data Analysis System (DAS), a software application that allows users to specify and generate tables from NPSAS and BPS data files. Each estimate produced in a table is accompanied by the standard error and weighted sample size on which the estimate was based. The DAS is available to anyone interested in further exploring the NPSAS or BPS (see appendix B for a more detailed discussion and directions for obtaining a copy).

We hope that readers of this report will find it informative and useful. We welcome recommendations for improving the format, content, or analysis to make subsequent reports even more informative and accessible.

John H. Ralph
Acting Associate Commissioner
Data Development and Longitudinal Studies Division

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