The cost of higher education in the United States continues to surge upward, as the average tuition at a public four-year college has increased by more than 250 percent over the past three decades. Rising prices coupled with declining state funding means that students are assuming a larger proportion of college costs, and are borrowing more than ever before to do so. Approximately two-thirds of college students now graduate with loan debt, averaging more than $26,000. How might the system be revised to place fewer burdens on students – and on low- and middle-income students in particular?
On October 3, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings released its paper, “The Next Steps: Building a Reimagined System of Student Aid,” a synthesis of the comprehensive body of research that was conducted as part of the Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD) project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The paper’s author, Brookings Fellow Beth Akers, presented her findings and moderated a panel to explore how a redesigned federal financial aid system could help more students afford and succeed in college.