Make postsecondary education affordable for low- and middle-income families


Lower the student and family college cost burden for low- and middle-income populations.

Develop FAFSA completion initiatives that strongly encourage or require high school seniors to seek federal aid for college.  

Establish a state longitudinal database or improve workforce and education data in an existing one. Provide clear analysis to inform better higher education funding decisions.

Conduct a full financial aid audit to highlight where there may be financial aid gaps for students of various socioeconomic or demographic status.  

Publish an analysis of the true costs of college at state institutions to incentivize them to bring down total cost through efficiency.  

Work with legislators to provide state aid to cover the gap between the Pell award and the cost of public tuition and fees. Determine the amount, which some organizations previously estimated at $2,500.

Establish a process for approving new academic programs that identifies the lowest possible costs to students for each new or revised option.   

Incentivize colleges to consider using more open educational resources or low-cost texts.

Be transparent with students and families about the true out-of-pocket cost of college and the value of obtaining a degree that aligns with their skills and interests.

Collect, analyze and disaggregate the true out-of-pocket cost of degrees for different student populations with varying resources and needs (such as low-income, traditional, adult learner, student-parent, part-time).  

Publish  the true out-of-pocket cost of degrees for student populations with varying resources and needs ─ part-time students, for example, or students who are parents.

Analyze and publish the value of different degrees, especially for high-demand professions.

Focus on ways to help students complete their degree or credential of value at a faster rate.

Adopt statewide universal transfer and articulation policies, allowing acceptance of more courses for degree credit. 

  • Develop policy for greater flexibility for meeting general education course requirements, especially for transfer students.
  • Accredited institutions should be required to count as many credits as possible — for full or even partial credit — to reduce time to degree and cost.  

Support colleges to create better course schedules and sequences.  

Set state policy that limits degree requirements to 120 credit hours for baccalaureate degree programs or 60 credit hours for associate degree programs (unless more are required for degree program accreditation).  

Set state policy for accepting and applying credit toward degree for dual enrollment courses and for Advanced Placement courses with a test score of 3 or higher.