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Purpose: This study examines online research guides as a measure of academic library support for students seeking educational funding opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach: The library websites of 38 members of a regional academic library consortium were examined for guides that address funding for educational purposes. Guide content was manually reviewed. Information regarding institutional characteristics was gathered from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Findings: Despite relatively few reports of educational funding support in the library literature, online guides exist at 42% of studied institutions. However, few guides are comprehensive and many lack features that promote discoverability. Instructional content — guidance, advice, or information beyond resource descriptions — and in-person funding support rarely appear in the studied guides, presenting opportunities for academic libraries to contribute to student retention and success.

Practical implications: This paper provides information on and examples of online guides to educational funding useful to academic libraries looking to support students facing affordability concerns.

Originality/value: This paper contributes to the literature on non-disciplinary uses of online research guides and is the first to survey academic library guides on educational funding opportunities.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Reference Services Review. The final version is available online at: