Over the last three decades, the cost of college has increased nearly four times faster than the median family income. Financial aid has not filled this growing gap, resulting in “unmet financial need.” These policy recommendations for redesigning the student aid system are designed to help all students afford and complete college. A five-member consortium comprised of Excelencia in Education, the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, College Board, the Committee for Economic Development, and the National Urban League authored this brief, which was made possible through the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Many of today’s college students fit a “post-traditional” student profile, in that they are independent, adults age 25 and older, parents, and work more than 20 hours per week. These students often face financial barriers to college access and completion as a result of their managing multiple roles and responsibilities.  This brief uses guiding principles to recommend reforms to the federal student aid and work-study programs to increase post-traditional student success in higher education. These principles include: 1) increase economic opportunity for all students; 2) provide clear and transparent federal aid; 3) use evidence based practices to serve low-income, disadvantaged students; 4) ensure federal aid and a manageable amount of work and loans are adequate to complete postsecondary education for qualified students; 5) address all barriers to degree completion; and 6) hold institutions receiving federal funding accountable for keeping college affordable and strengthening student success.
  • Financial Aid


The Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD) Consortium for the Reform of Federal Student Aid Grants and Work-Study: Our Agenda for Reform

Research File