Linguistics as Lemonade: Summer Melt and the Readability of Admissions and Financial Aid Materials

This study analyzes the length and readability of admissions and financial aid application instructions at a random sample of 341 four-year higher education institutions in the United States. Linguistic analyses indicate that financial aid application instructions are longer and more difficult to read than are admissions materials at the same institution. Paired t-tests indicate that the length (p=0.05) and readability level (p=0.000) of financial aid application instructions compared to those of admissions materials are statistically significant. Implications for research and practice are addressed.

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