Affordability Commission


Commission on College Affordability in the South

How do current state financing policies impact affordability? What kinds of policy changes have the potential to improve both affordability and college completion?

The Southern Regional Education Board Commission on College Affordability in the South focused on aligning state policies toward the goal of affordability for students. The Commission considered ways to improve college affordability by better coordinating the different types of state financing policies – tuition, state appropriations to institutions, and state financial aid to students. 

A Critical Factor in Both Access and Completion

Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, chaired the Commission. Members represented all 16 SREB states and included state legislators, state higher education leaders and presidents of colleges and universities.The Commission met during 2014 and 2015 and publishes a report in 2016.

“For states to reach the goal of 60 percent of adults with some form of degree or certificate, we’ll need to do some things differently,” said SREB President Dave Spence. “We need more students to go to college and more to complete. Affordability is a critical factor in both access and completion.”

“Paying for college is a particular concern for the large number of students we must reach to meet our goals,” said Chancellor Johnson,“This includes students who will be the first in their families to attend college and adult students returning to complete or upgrade their credentials.”

Publication July 2016 | 3 pages

A Statewide Framework
College Affordability Policy and Practice Review

The SREB Commission on College Affordability in the South recommended that states review affordability policies for capacity to make postsecondary education more affordable for students and families. This framework outlines, in checklist form, questions to guide the review. Questions cover governance, aligning policies toward affordability, tuition policy, need-based student financial aid, student debt, investing in innovation, and shared responsibility among states, agencies, institutions and families.


Blog post September 2015 Commission meeting

Part-Time Students = 38% of Undergrads
Affordability Commission focuses on needs of adult and part-time students

Part-time college students made up 38 percent of undergraduates in SREB states by 2013. Many part-time students work to pay their living expenses as well as tuition, and the more hours they work, the longer it takes them to finish, on average. Part-timers are eligible for less financial aid, and they tend to file later, missing early deadlines.

Blog post

Promising Affordability Practices in Oklahoma, Tennessee
What the research tells us

SREB’s Commission on College Affordability in the South convened in New Orleans in December 2014 for its second meeting to focus state policies on increasing the students’ ability to pay for and complete college. Members learned what the research tells us about affordability’s effects on enrollment and completion and heard about promising practices in two states, Oklahoma and Tennessee.