Date of Conferral








The philosophy and objectives underlying the Rhode Island State Scholarship Program encompassed severa1 basic assumptions about secondary education. Some of these assumptions have changed substantially over the past fifteen years and deserve close consideration. The new emphasis toward equalizing educational opportunities had been reflected in the changing philosophy that guided the administration of student financial aid. The genesis of most aid programs could be found in a concept that fostered the belief in a system built entirely upon meritocracy. This approach provided aid to students with high achievement and measured potential, irrespective of financial need. Educators seeing the inequity and irrationality of this approach developed a more standardized and "need-analysis" system. High ability students who needed assistance were given scholarships, but as the research over the past .five years had indicated, this kind of approach benefited only a few of the truly financially impoverished students. The overriding criterion of previous academic success has had the effect of excluding the most needy from participation. The review of the literature for this study was divided into three areas: (l) state scholarship or grant programs, {2) federal scholarship grant or loan programs, and (3) general student aid program models.


The procedures followed in the conduct of the study were typical of those used in descriptive research design. A series of questions was identified bearing on important educational concerns; the related literature was reviewed; a survey instrument was designed and tested; follow ups were made; and the collected data were analyzed for significant findings and implications. As a means of assessing the effectiveness ·of the Rhode Island scholarship programs, the investigators conducted a survey of Rhode Island high school seniors in November 1970 and 1971. Four major variables relating to tests for higher education, academic and economic readiness for higher education, and specific demographic characteristics were investigated through a questionnaire administered in the high schools. The pooled responses to the questionnaire totaled 19,313 returns over the two-year period. This return represented 74 per cent of the 25,920 seniors in Rhode Island high schools during 1970 and 1971. Because of this relatively high return, the findings of the study were assumed to be indicative of the larger population and adequately described the characteristics of this total population. The significant finding indicated that a major discrepancy existed between the needs of the students and the delivery system of the Rhode Island