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ERIC Number: ED557769
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
States in the Driver's Seat: Leveraging State Aid to Align Policies and Promote Access, Success, and Affordability
Prescott, Brian T.; Longanecker, David A.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
With increasingly widespread calls to raise educational attainment levels without substantially growing public investment in higher education, policymakers and others have devoted growing attention to the role of financial aid programs in providing access to, promoting affordability for, and incentivizing success in college. Given relative levels of investment, most of that focus has been on federal financial aid programs. But for students enrolled in higher education, the vast majority of whom attend public institutions, the impact of federal aid policies is filtered through finance policies enacted at the state level. The wide differences in financing strategies among states mean that states ultimately determine to a great extent how college opportunities are distributed, costs are affordable, and students are successful. This concept paper takes a closer look at state financial aid programs and how they are uniquely well-positioned to address many of the financial challenges in college access, success, and affordability that stand in the way of achieving educational attainment goals. It advances a framework for the distribution of aid that is efficient with scarce public funds, encourages students to make progress and succeed, promotes institutional behaviors that are aligned with public needs and expectations, and integrates state policies with federal and institutional policies and practices. Informed by a set of guiding principles, the paper makes the following policy proposals: (1) States can adopt a Shared Responsibility Model (SRM) as the framework for determining the eligibility for a state grant, as well as the amount of the grant; (2) States can encourage well-designed, state-supported programs to assist students in meeting their student contribution; (3) States can embed demand-side incentives that promote student success; (4) States can embed supply-side incentives that ensure that institutions share in both the risk and rewards of student success; (5) States can leverage grant aid programs to encourage institutional aid expenditures that are aligned with state goals for student success, affordability, transparency, and predictability; (6) The federal government can recommit to its historic partnership with states in promoting well designed grant programs through a contemporary LEAP program; (7) States can ensure that their grant programs include an expectation that standards of academic quality are maintained; and (8) States can require that their financial aid programs are systematically evaluated.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. P.O. Box 9752, Boulder, CO 80301-9752. Tel: 303-541-0200; Fax: 303-541-0291; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation
Authoring Institution: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; American Samoa; Arizona; California; Colorado; Federated States of Micronesia; Guam; Hawaii; Idaho; Marshall Islands; Montana; Nevada; New Mexico; North Dakota; Northern Mariana Islands; Oregon; Palau; South Dakota; Utah; Washington; Wyoming