Short Title

A Comparative Study on Need-Based Aid Policy in Higher Education between the State of Indiana and Taiwan


The question of how the government can best support access to postsecondary education has become a critical issue for education policymakers around the globe, as the practice of cost sharing for funding postsecondary education has been more widely adopted. In this context, this study explores the approaches to implementing current need-based financial aid policies in higher education in Indiana and Taiwan using G.Z.F. Bereday’s (1964) comparative method as the framework. Using a comparative cross-national perspective, the authors explored cost sharing, Rawls’ theory of social justice, and the economic principles of horizontal and vertical equity.

This review revealed that need-based aid programs in both Indiana and Taiwan were founded on the principle of vertical equity, which aims to equalize educational opportunity for low-income students and minorities. However, the increased popularity of cost sharing and its consequent heavy burden on students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds have made it necessary to reexamine the financial aid systems intended to hold open the door of opportunity for these students. These findings have implications for examining financial aid policy within a global context, as well as asserting the value of cross-national comparisons in postsecondary education. Governments and postsecondary institutions should examine the effects of financial aid systems on college attendance and completion from a longitudinal perspective to allow for a better understanding of the impact of policy changes and to prevent further erosion educational opportunities for students who aspire to a college education.