All students should have access to an affordable and successful college experience. We offer recommendations to improve and simplify the financial aid system so that enrollment and full participation in college is possible for all students.
Rethinking Pell Grants
Goal: Develop recommendations for strengthening the Pell Grant program and increasing the benefits it provides to both students and society as a whole.
Convened by the College Board and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, the Rethinking Pell Grants Study Group made recommendations for improving the Pell Grant program for young people growing up in low- and moderate-income families, while also better serving older adults returning to school to improve their labor market opportunities.
Rethinking Pell Grants (pdf, 1.5MB): Report. Presents the recommendations of the Rethinking Pell Grants Study Group for strengthening the Pell Grant program and increasing the benefits it provides both to students and to society as a whole.
Rethinking Pell Grants: In Brief (pdf, 1.4MB): Policy Brief. Provides an overview of the recommendations of the Rethinking Pell Grants Study Group. The group’s report outlines the following proposals designed to improve the program for young people growing up in low- and moderate-income families, while also better serving older adults returning to school to improve their labor market opportunities.
Rethinking Pell Grants: One Pager (pdf, 681KB): One pager. Provides an overview of the recommendations of the Rethinking Pell Grants Study Group. The group’s report outlines the following proposals designed to improve the program for young people growing up in low- and moderate-income families, while also better serving older adults returning to school to improve their labor market opportunities.
Rethinking Student Aid
Goal: Expand opportunities for those who face financial barriers to college enrollment and success, and increase both equity and efficiency of the federal investment in higher education.
Financial barriers prevent many qualified low- and moderate-income high school graduates from enrolling in four-year colleges. And for those who do enroll, their degree completion rates are low compared to their more affluent peers. We need a more effective financial aid system to increase college access and completion.
How Does Institutional Grant Aid Impact College Choice? (pdf, 962.15 KB): Research Brief. New evidence on how students’ choice of postsecondary institution is sensitive to grant aid offers from the colleges and universities. Institutional aid sensitivity is largest for students from the least wealthy families but does not vary by race/ethnicity or measured academic ability.
Simplifying Student Aid: What It Would Mean for States (pdf, 1.62 MB): Report. The College Board recently completed a five-state study to learn how further simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) would affect student eligibility for state need-based grant programs. The full report and results are now available.
Cracking the Student Aid Code Presentation (ppt, 1.8 MB): PowerPoint. Slides from the April 28, 2011 Learning to Lead: Admissions in the 21st Century webinar. The webinar discussed research from the Cracking the Student Aid Code study.
Cracking the Student Aid Code: Parent and Student Perspectives on Paying for College (pdf, 2.27 MB): Report. Based on research with parents and students of low- and moderate-income backgrounds and explores their attitudes, expectations and experiences with the Federal financial aid process.
Rethinking Student Aid Project Summary (pdf, 796.28 KB): Summary. Provides a summary of the principles underlying the study group's recommendations and current work on this initiative.
Summary of Principles and Recommendations for Reforming Federal Student Aid (pdf, 597.11 KB): Executive Summary. A summary of the recommendations of the Rethinking Student Aid study group.
Fulfilling the Commitment: Recommendations for Reforming Federal Student Aid (pdf, 1.14 MB): Report. The final report of the Rethinking Student Aid study group, which provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for policy reform to restructure and simplify the federal student aid system to increase access to and success in higher education. This publication also includes estimates of implementation costs.
Fulfilling the Commitment: Recommendations for Reforming Federal Student Aid in Brief (pdf, 503.11 KB): Policy Brief. Presents in concise form the recommendations of the Rethinking Student Aid study group.
Study Group Members
- Thomas Bailey, Director, Institute on Education and the Economy and Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
- Sandy Baum, Executive Director, North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority
- Steven E. Brooks, Executive Director, North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority
- Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at UCLA
- Georgette DeVeres, Associate Vice President/Admission and Financial Aid, Claremont McKenna College
- Susan Dynarksi, Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy, University of Michigan
- Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Director, Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI)
- Carl F. Kaestle, Professor of Education, Brown University
- Tom Kane, Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Bridget Terry Long, Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Shirley A. Ort, Associate Provost and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Marshall (Mike) Smith, Education Program Director, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- William Troutt, President, Rhodes College
- Jane Wellman, Executive Director, Delta Cost Project
Admissions in the 21st Century: Archived Resources
Beginning in 2005, the College Board convened leaders of the admission, financial aid, enrollment management and school counseling communities to examine the current state of the profession and to develop ideas on how to improve the school-to-college transition. Below you will find archived resources from the Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century, designed to address these values and action commitments.
Members from the original Task Force and new collaborators convene at the Symposium on Admissions in the 21st Century in July 2012 to discuss progress to date, next steps and projects. Read The College Admission Landscape, 2012 for the landscape overview of admissions in the context of the key recommendations of the Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century.
The task force developed a data book to use as a guide to the task force’s work and as a resource for the College Board’s Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education. A comprehensive but not exhaustive review of data on several contemporary issues in American education, Selected Data on P-20 Education in America explores 10 significant indicators of our national educational health. It includes the best national evidence we could find on each of these indicators, such as global competitiveness, children’s well-being, student achievement, and high school and college graduation rates.
Diversity and Access
A research study conducted by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, Complexity in College Admission: The Barriers Between Aspiration and Enrollment for Lower-Income Students, explores the special challenges facing lower-income students as they navigate the school-to-college transition. Through telephone interviews with over 600 lower-income students and 100 of their parents, the research focuses on the questions of complexity in the college application process, barriers to applying or enrolling, and the issues or people that have the biggest influence on lower-income students’ decisions. There is also an Executive Summary of the report.
The report Complexity in College Admission: Fact or Urban Myth explores the topic of complexity in the admission process. Through a survey of approximately 1,000 students and parents who had recently undergone the college application process, the research focuses on questions of transparency in the application process, overall perceptions of applying, parent experiences in securing good information about college choice, and the review process.
Learn more about the work of the Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education in the report Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future.
Strategic Planning, Organization, and Leadership
The task force examined a broad range of issues and looked for ways in which the College Board,
in collaboration with its members, could contribute to solutions that would best serve students as they prepare for, apply to and enroll in postsecondary institutions. In its report, entitled Preserving the Dream of America: An Open Letter to Professionals in Admissions, Financial Aid and Counseling, the task force begins by articulating the values that underlie the profession and then proposes a set of actions to support these values and guide the profession into the 21st century.