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ERIC Number: ED536485
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 40
Financial Aid in Theory and Practice: Why It Is Ineffective and What Can Be Done about It
Gillen, Andrew
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
Financial aid programs are supposed to improve access and affordability in higher education. The effectiveness of these programs is increasingly being questioned as college attainment figures stagnate and the financial burden on students and families continues to climb year after year. This report identifies the main culprit for this unsatisfactory state of affairs as a misunderstanding of the effect of financial aid on schools. Currently, financial aid programs take costs per student as a given, and attempt to offset some of those costs. However, costs are not given. In fact, it is widely acknowledged that colleges and universities are engaged in an academic arms race. Thus, when financial aid programs make more money available to schools, this money is spent and results in higher costs per student. The end result is more costly higher education, generally accompanied by higher tuition, which has negative implications for access and affordability. Here, the author explains in more detail how financial aid is supposed to work in theory and why it doesn't work that way in practice. He concludes by offering a recommendation for reform that will achieve the goals of the financial aid system more effectively than is currently the case. (Contains 24 figures and 72 notes.)
Center for College Affordability and Productivity. 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Suite L 26, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-621-0536; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)