Gates Foundation Provides Grant to Improve Student Aid Programs

Monday, September 17, 2012

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has been awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to examine current systems of aid design and delivery, with an eye toward reimagining how they may be improved in the future. The grant was part of larger project, Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD).

Each year student aid advocates like NASFAA battle for appropriations that barely keep key programs like the Pell Grant level funded. At the same time there have been few concerted efforts to examine the programs to determine if they are working as designed and if they are meeting the current and ever-changing needs of our country.

Few would argue that the financial aid system as it is currently structured and funded is operating with maximum efficacy--including student aid professionals on campus and those who study and represent the industry.

“The RADD project provides the much-needed opportunity to pause and closely examine the federal financial aid programs outside of the annual appropriations context,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “NASFAA recognizes the importance of innovative thinking and the need to nurture an environment that is non-threatening and non-binding, to fully explore all possible approaches to strengthening and improving the federal student aid programs, and moving related policy discussions forward.”

“NASFAA is well-positioned to foster the conversation critical to the task of innovative improvement and looks forward to including institutional members and members of the broader higher education community in these discussions,” Draeger added. “We are honored to receive this grant to contribute to a healthy debate surrounding the future of the federal student aid programs.”

The grant will result in a series of recommendations for the improvement of the design and delivery of aid and will be released, in the form of a report, in early 2013. The final report will comprise input, suggestions and feedback from NASFAA members and other members of the higher education community. NASFAA recommendations will then be incorporated into the collective feedback from other groups participating in the RADD Project.

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