Publication Date

Summer 7-25-2019

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The purpose of this action research was to examine my ability to address the challenges transfer students at the University of San Diego face in navigating the financial aid (FA) process. The participants and I shared first-person narratives about the challenges in student success across a 3-cycle action research project. This research contributes to comprehending the impacts FA have on the transfer student population and how I, along with my colleagues, may better retain students through FA negotiations and processes. Findings from this research include varied responses on how transfer students felt supported during the matriculation process as well as a critical inquiry on the current transfer credit articulation process that has raised concerns from both the professional staff and transfer student participants. Lastly, with the incorporation of Bean’s (1980) Causal Model of Attrition framework and McNiff and Whitehead’s (2011) action research methodology, several of the best approaches to assisting students during the financial aid process and by elevating their transfer experience were found through service-based approaches and consideration of a transfer student’s background variables (e.g., socioeconomic status, prior performance) during advising discussions.