Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James E.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Watson, Joshua Chad

Committee Member

Wisemon, William M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the changes to federal student aid, which were implemented on July 1, 2012, on student loan debt in Mississippi’s publicly-supported community colleges, particularly the change in the Estimated Family Contribution. The literature indicates a national epidemic of student borrowing. This research could provide Mississippi community college administrators the opportunity to observe and evaluate actual changes and to better understand the problem of student loan debt, which is escalating nationally. This study is expected to provide community college leaders a snapshot of the magnitude of the problem so that they can better understand if and how to respond. 8 of the 12 Mississippi community colleges participating in the federal direct student loan program were included in this study. Information on gender, ethnicity, and actual loan amount was gathered from each institution. Comparisons were made of the federal direct student loan debt before and after the July 1, 2012 changes. A quasi-experimental design was used to perform the study. Secondary data acquired from each institution were gathered on all students participating in the federal direct student loan program; therefore, random assignment was not used. The researcher utilized one-way ANOVAs for analyzing mean changes in actual loan amount. Chi-square analyses were used to determine significant changes in the number of loans incurred following the July 1, 2012 changes to federal student aid. Although the study identified significant differences in mean loan debt and numbers of loans incurred by Mississippi community colleges before and after the changes which became effective July 1, 2012, the changes were not in the direction anticipated. Annual student loan debt in the participating community colleges and the number of loans acquired, in the form of federal direct student loans, actually declined while the Estimated Family Contribution increased. Considerations for further studies are discussed.



student loans||student debt||Mississippi||community college||pell grant