ERIC Number: EJ1169712
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Advancing Understanding of Affordability in Washington State: An Interactive Model Exploring Student Higher Education Financing
Fridley, James L.; Sharpe, Rachelle E.
Journal of Education Finance, v41 n4 p473-489 Spr 2016
Higher education affordability is a complex concept that reflects resources available from multiple parties, the remaining cost of education, and the ability of students and families to pay the balance. States play a key role in determining the affordability of higher education for students attending public institutions. Yet decisions are made without viewing affordability for students by income levels and coordinating the various sources of funding. Washington State had comparatively lower college tuition rates until the Great Recession when reduced state revenues and increased demands in other areas of state government led to significant reductions in funding to public institutions and corresponding tuition increases. However, in recent years the state has either held tuition flat or reduced tuition while backfilling revenue for the public institutions. Despite the state's commitment to need-based financial aid, enrollments of eligible students have exceeded grant program funding. In addressing these challenges, the state has not had a tool that provides information from multiple data sources to readily respond to policy and funding choices and describe the impact on student affordability. The Affordability Interactive Model was developed to support Washington policy makers and encourage a shared understanding of affordability including the interconnectivity among available resources. The model displays the various higher education financing components (including parental income, savings, student work, grant aid, and student debt) by income level. The user can select the sector of attendance and academic year and manipulate variables as policies are explored to evaluate the impact on affordability. The policy tool is the first of its kind in providing a visual tool that is interactive and informative in exploring policies affecting affordability for students. The model has been a critical tool used in Washington in the development of a state affordability framework to support reinvestments in higher education and target policies to improve affordability for all students (WSAC, 2015a).
Descriptors: Higher Education, Educational Finance, Income, Tuition, Student Financial Aid, State Aid, Educational Policy, Debt (Financial), Access to Education, College Attendance
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A