Topic: College Affordability


College Affordability

Affordability is a crucial component in students’ ability to earn college degrees. SREB offers data, reports, recommendations and technical assistance to help states raise their college attainment rates and bolster their economic futures.

Publication June 2022 | 7 pages

Higher Education Return on Investment for Students, Families and Society

With mounting focus on the return on investing in a college degree, this brief shows how the benefits outweigh the costs to individuals, communities and society. A postsecondary credential remains a profitable investment for individuals, who in general earn more and are less likely to be unemployed, as well as for economies that need a highly skilled workforce and residents who contribute to society. 


Publication January 20215 pages

College Affordability in the SREB Region
Early Impacts of the Pandemic

Making college more affordable for families has been a critical issue for states in the SREB region for many years. Now the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have created additional barriers to college affordability. This brief provides an overview of college affordability in the SREB region based on data from the 2017-2018 academic year. The report explores the impact of the pandemic on enrollment and access, state budgets, higher education budgets and other factors that contribute to college affordability.

Publication September 2019 | 8 pages
report  cover

Workforce-Driven Financial Aid: Policies and Strategies
Essential Elements of State Policy For College Completion

The rapidly evolving workplace has created a shortage of skilled and educated workers in many fields, leaving essential jobs unfilled and millions of adults unqualified for them. This policy brief summarizes statewide strategies to support financial assistance for students in programs designed to address workforce needs. It includes suggestions for states that are evaluating, or considering creating, workforce-driven financial aid policies.


News SREB News Release

How affordable is college in SREB states?
SREB college affordability profiles detail state-level data

Tuition, financial aid and other measures that drive college affordability vary from state to state. To help policymakers evaluate and improve affordability in their states, SREB provides affordability profiles specific to each of its 16 states.

New in this year’s reports: charts showing the changing percentages of tuition and fees versus state appropriations from 2006 to 2016.

Each report details state-specific data including:

Oklahoma's Promise: Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program

Promises Kept in Oklahoma
SREB review of financial aid program

Oklahoma’s Promise is an effective college scholarship program that meets its goals and helps the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education increase education attainment in the state, according to a report from the Southern Regional Education Board. The report cited Oklahoma’s Promise as “an example of how a state can invest valuable resources in its students and see a strong return on that investment.”

Publication October 2016 | 32 pages | (16E10)
Affordability report cover

Shared Responsibility for College Affordability

Report of the SREB Commission on College Affordability in the South

The Commission offers eight policy recommendations for affordability, grounded in a shared responsibility model where states, families, colleges and the federal government each play a role. The report charts trends and data on educational attainment, workforce needs, student diversity, family income, student debt, higher ed funding, tuition, net price, financial aid and more. An appendix offers questions to help states begin reviews of their policies and practices. 


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.