Why are some students, especially those who are first generation college students or from low-income households, not applying for or consistently receiving financial aid? According to new research, the aid system must be redesigned to earn the trust of students and their families and to help them believe that it can make college affordable. This research was published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) journal published in partnership with SAGE Publishing.
Instead of the government determining students' eligibility for financial aid, which can cause social division between those who receive aid and those who don't, Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab and Dr. Tammy Kolbe recommend that all students should be funded collectively under a taxpayer-supported universal public higher education system. Such a system that benefits everyone would, according to the researchers, increase feelings of fairness and would appeal to the values of marginalized people, who are often less trusting of bureaucracies.
"Many Americans are priced out of college today, as the current financial aid system fails to meet their needs," commented Goldrick-Rab and Kolbe. "We argue that making college affordable will require building a new and trustworthy financing system for higher education -- one that its participants can believe in."
The researchers developed this recommendation after finding that some students and their families had little faith in aid policies because they cause:
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