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ELPS PhD Candidate Receives National Grant Funding for Scholarship Research

Research Investigates Scholarship Effects on Student Outcomes

Zachary Hyder, a third-year doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Administration program in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies department (ELPS) is the recipient of a $3,000 Education Finance Policy Research Grant from the National Education Finance Academy (NEFA). Hyder’s recognition is for his proposal for an econometric analysis of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Pledge Scholarship Program. A scholarship program similar to the Tennessee Promise and UT System Promise program, which guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying Tennessee residents.

Zachary Hyder is posing holding an award plaque. He has fair skin, brown hair and a brown mustache. He is wearing a light blue shirt and tan pants. He is standing outside in the shade of a large tree.

Zachary Hyder

Hyder plans to utilize a regression discontinuity design to evaluate this institutional promise program for causal effect on the student-level outcomes of time-to-degree and post-graduation salary. The UT Pledge scholarship is a unique promise program as an institutional-level, last-dollar scholarship that covers the tuition, fees, and the on-campus average cost of room and board. Hyder looks forward to examining project data to understand the effect these scholarship funds can have on students’ time-to-degree and post-graduation salaries.

While Hyder will continue dissertation work through the coming year, he will have completed the required course work for his departmental studies, a Legal Studies Graduate Certificate with the UT College of Law, and a Ph.D. minor from the Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics program by the end of the spring 2023 term.

Named for the generous contributions of William J. Fowler, Jr. and Patricia R. Fowler, this grant supports promising graduate students focused on applied research for the improvement of education finance and budgeting practice. The mission of the National Education Finance Academy is to provide a non-partisan policy forum focused on education finance. NEFA provides an international venue for annual collaboration among scholars, education practitioners, legislators, and policy researchers dedicated to understanding and improving education finance at all levels. This grant seeks to increase the disciplinary diversity of the nation’s academic and organizational research personnel by increasing the number of education finance policy researchers that investigate the perennial issues of P-20 education finance, including questions of equity, adequacy, productivity, and efficiency.

Hyder would also like to thank his mentors on this project, Robert Kelchen, dissertation chair and ELPS department head and Lisa G. Driscoll, retired ELPS faculty.

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