To better understand, address, and improve the challenges related to college affordability and student debt, 9 institutions have been selected to participate in a collaboration between the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' Powered by Publics initiative and TIAA Institute to investigate best practices and possible long-term reformation to current financial aid approaches.
COVID-19 has unearthed systemic and institutional impediments that exacerbate the equity disparities that campuses are trying to address. Higher education institutions are working in real-time to find solutions to support incoming and current students and these elements will be captured in collaboration with institutions and placed in context of establishing long-term solutions in the face of a changing landscape. APLU and the TIAA Institute have co-released an initial brief examining the COVID-19 pandemic, college affordability, and student debt.
The fellow institutions are: Cleveland State University; Rutgers University-Newark; University of Cincinnati; University of Louisville; University of North Texas; University of Texas at San Antonio; Virginia Commonwealth University; Wayne State University; and West Virginia University. As fellows, these institutions will examine how stimulus funds from the CARES Act were distributed to Title IV-eligible students, and how different processes or methods may ultimately result in disparate impact on various populations, including student veterans, undocumented students, low- and middle-income students, and students of color. They will also be examining how the pandemic has exacerbated existing affordability barriers and student debt for minoritized student populations, including how universities can collect disaggregated data to examine the racialized impact of financial aid policies and practices. By explicitly taking an equity lens for this research, fellows will have deeper discussions and improve the evidence base for financial aid innovations that impact affordability and student debt, particularly for students most affected by COVID-19.
The fellows will be diving into a set of financial innovations that include:
Four strategic priorities guide Powered by Publics work. They are: