The Experience of Receiving Scholarship Aid and Its Effect on Future Giving: A Listening Guide Analysis

Jeannie Forrest, Lauren Nikodemos, Carol Gilligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Why are there so many people who receive scholarship aid who do not give back to the schools that gave it? Social exchange theories grounded in the assumption of direct reciprocity have long been the framework used within higher education to understand donative behavior. As a result, conventional wisdom within higher education holds that recipients of scholarship aid will later donate money to the institution that provided it. However, the philanthropic data show that most aid recipients do not, in fact, give back. This study probes the underlying factors for this phenomenon by using the Listening Guide, a voice-centered relational method of discovery, to analyze and interpret interviews with 10 scholarship recipients. By providing a more robust understanding of the experience of receiving, the findings challenge some of the most basic psychological and sociological assumptions about giving and generosity within higher education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 20 2015



  • Direct reciprocity
  • donative behavior
  • listening guide
  • philanthropy in higher education
  • social exchange theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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