Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Psychology BS



First Advisor

Melanie Leuty, Ph.D.

Advisor Department



Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) focuses on the way that cognitive factors such as self-efficacy interact with contextual factors, like race, to predict goal setting behaviors (Lent, 2013). The SCCT framework has shown to predict academic goal setting like intention to graduate, with higher academic self-efficacy resulting in higher graduation intention (White & Parrone-McGovern, 2017; Wu, 2018). One contextual factor that has an ability to affect academic self-efficacy is financial stress, which includes student debt (White & Parrone-McGovern, 2017). Students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have more debt on average and a harder time paying off that debt (NCES, 2021; Education Data Initiative, 2022); this pairs with lower rates of college degree attainment among BIPOC individuals (Hirschman, 2016). Financial aid, which is a way to reduce financial stress, has been shown to have positive impacts on student retention and graduation intention (Cabrera et al., 1992; Hagedorn et al., 2001), yet research points to a lack of financial knowledge among students to obtain financial aid (Norvilitis et al., 2003). While financial knowledge is related to student debt, the relationship between financial knowledge and race has been explored to examine if this plays a role in lower college attainment for BIPOC students. In a sample of 275 college students, we examined if financial knowledge differs by race. Furthermore, we also explored if race and financial knowledge moderated the relationship between self-efficacy and desire to finish college to further understand these connections and identify possible areas for intervention. Results showed that financial literacy differed by race, but not as it relates to number of types of financial aid students applied. Furthermore, financial literacy did not moderate self-efficacy and desire to finish college, but number of financial aid types did. v There was a significant three-way interaction between race, self-efficacy, and financial aid applied for that affected desire to finish college.

Included in

Psychology Commons