Valerie Lefor

Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Deborah Worley


The nature of understanding both federal financial aid and accreditation processes may be complex. Both approaches involve complicated terminology that is not easily understood. In the United States, state governments have responsibility for education oversight, but their work is informed by the federal government. It is essential for students to understand federal aid and accreditation, especially for those who wish to consider options following high school that may lead to a college pathway. Research has shown that students who reside in rural areas may not have the same access to information as their peers in other locations. This Dissertation in Practice explains how 43 high school websites were reviewed for information regarding federal student aid and postsecondary accreditation information. The paper concludes with a Rural Educator’s Toolkit that includes content for students, parents, and educators. The Toolkit provides useful information on federal student aid, postsecondary accreditation, and preparing for college.