Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

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The price of higher education has increased dramatically in recent decades as higher education financing has shifted from a collectively funded public good to reliance on individual and family contributions. This cost burden has implications for education’s ability to serve as an equalizing force in the U.S., but asset-based financial aid models may have the potential to transform our financial aid system. While high student loan debt may hinder college completion and even serve as a deterrent to enrollment among some disadvantaged students, promoting asset development may reduce the need for loans and improve educational outcomes. Policies that combine smaller student loans with asset-based approaches could create a financial-aid model that builds college readiness among low-income students, improves their access to college, and increases their chances of success in higher education and of financial security post-graduation.

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Elliott, William (Ed.), (2013). Building expectations, delivering results: Asset-based financial aid and the future of higher education. In Biannual report on the assets and education field. Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI).

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