Equitable College Affordability Policies and Practices

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The premise of public colleges is that all students have an equal opportunity to afford, attend, and succeed in higher education to achieve upward social and economic mobility. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Supporting a diverse student population in affording a high-quality college degree means comprehensively addressing and investing in the resources, strategies, and supports that directly impact low-income and minoritized students.

Equitable College Affordability Policies and Practices examines how specific college affordability policies and practices at the federal, state, and institutional levels can be strengthened to close racial equity gaps in college affordability and completion and support widespread diversity and representation in higher education.

By increasing access to financial aid and shifting the way colleges and universities equitably award and disburse funds, we can leverage financial aid as a marketing, recruitment, enrollment, and retainment tool for both low-income and minoritized students and counteract the chilling effect of the U.S. Supreme Court decision curtailing the use of race-conscious admissions in higher education. Socio-economic status is not a perfect proxy for race, but affordability policies are a critical lever for equity, given that Latinx, Black, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students receive multiple forms of grant aid at higher percentages than their white counterparts.