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Financial aid innovations for college affordability and mitigating student debt

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is leading a research project supported by the TIAA Institute to identify and learn from innovative financial aid strategies designed to improve affordability and reduce student debt. The research focuses on students most affected by COVID-19, which has exacerbated systemic and institutional impediments that underlie equity disparities that campuses are trying to address. Working with teams from 10 APLU institutions, the researchers are using ‘Targeted Universalism’ as a framework to explore learnings from CARES Act emergency fund distribution; how the pandemic is intensifying the need to address the immediate financial situations of students; and potential changes to institutional arrangements and structures to make college more affordable in the long term.

Financial aid innovations for affordability and student debt

Reflections on the research and implications for the future

The pandemic, college affordability, and student debt

COVID-19 has exacerbated equity disparities on campus, and institutions are taking steps to support students.

CARES Act - Lessons learned: Insights on emergency funding, student need, and the impact of the CARES Act

COVID-19 has exacerbated systemic and institutional barriers to equity, leaving some students struggling to afford college or facing mounting debt burdens.

Addressing student need beyond crisis management

Many higher education leaders believe any student should be able to attend any university without taking on unmanageable debt.