Short Title

The Role of Financial Aid in Promoting College Access and Success: Research Evidence and Proposals for Reform


Since the passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965, great progress has been made in increasing college enrollment rates for qualified students. But gaps in enrollment and completion by family income have persisted and even widened over time. These gaps are both troubling, given the high returns gained by attending college, and puzzling, given the growing availability of financial aid. This essay discusses key lessons that have emerged from decades of research on the impacts of student aid, suggests high-priority directions for federal policy reform, and examines implications for financial aid administrators.