College is increasingly expensive for students and families, but states can help defray costs with state financial aid programs. Yet far too often, state aid programs and policies are misaligned with the experiences of today’s college students and education and workforce development goals of state leaders.  To enhance efforts to redesign aid programs for the needs of today’s college student and to support increased understanding of state-level financial aid policymaking, a new report from Education Commission of the States, State Financial Aid: Applying redesign principles through state engagement, shares lessons learned from technical assistance projects designed to craft more strategic approaches to financial aid policy design and implementation.

Drawn from a cumulative analysis of Education Commission of the States’ ongoing leadership of state financial aid redesign efforts, this new report highlights the need for state policy leaders to actively set goals for financial aid policy development, allocate resources to support articulated goals, realign student eligibility criteria to today’s students and respond to changing delivery models in postsecondary education.

“The technical assistance from Education Commission of the States provided an excellent external perspective that contributed significantly to the overall redesign conversation already underway in the state,” said Jennifer Rogers, director of student financial aid at Mississippi Intuitions of Higher Learning and one of the states featured in the report.

“The paper from Education Commission of the States, specifically prepared for the Commission, is a critical piece of a new financial aid agenda that the agency is preparing for the upcoming legislative session,” said Neal Holly, vice chancellor of policy and planning at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and another state featured in the report.

Working in partnership with USA Funds, Education Commission of the States was able to support an initial cohort of states with in-depth, detailed technical assistance.  Continued foundation support is allowing Education Commission of the States to identify a second cohort of states interested in redesigning financial aid programs. State policy leaders interested in pursuing this opportunity are encouraged to complete the interest form.

Some key takeaways from this report:

  • Over the past two years, Education Commission of the States supported states to craft more strategic approaches to financial aid policy design.
  • In 2014, states allocated $11.7 billion to financial aid programs and supported 4.5 million students.
  • Lack of engagement and bad process can derail or undermine good ideas; conversely, effective collaboration can improve ideas and outcomes.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at askinner@ecs.org or (303) 299.3609.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New report from @edcommission shares lessons learned from state-level financial aid redesign projects bit.ly/29Y0zZu #highered
  • Lessons learned from state financial aid technical assistance & opportunity to apply from @edcommission @USAFundsOrg bit.ly/29Y0zZu
  • In 2014 states allocated $11.7 billion to financial aid programs & assisted 4.5 million students. More @edcommission bit.ly/29Y0zZu

Related ECS resources that you will find useful:

Redesigning State Financial Aid: Principles to guide state aid policymaking: This report examines the unprecedented challenges in financing the cost of completing a meaningful degree or postsecondary credential.

Interest Form for State Technical Assistance: Are you a state policy leader or staffer looking for more information about how Education Commission of the States can support you in redesigning financial aid policies? We can provide data and policy analysis, review and consult on proposed policy, testify at legislative hearings and compile research for you. Complete the interest form and a member of Education Commission of the States’ policy team will reach out to you.


 PUBLISHED: July 14, 2016

 AUTHOR(S):

 RESOURCE TYPE:

 EDUCATION LEVEL:

 STATE(S): Nationwide

More on this issue

Unspecified