College Affordability Initiative

The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) plans to examine the complexities surrounding the cost of attending institutions of higher education. A key outcome of this work will be the amplification of student voices regarding the importance of need-based aid. SEF will engage a diverse set of college students (urban, rural, residential, commuter, etc.) throughout the South in interviews and focus groups to learn the challenges and financial nuances that students find most discouraging to gaining access to and ultimately completing college. 

The project objectives include: 

  • Informing the college affordability debate by amplifying diverse student voices in a significant way.
  • Engaging with organizations located in the South that are focused on advancing solutions for need-based aid and implementing initiatives that support students of color and low-income students with completing college; 
  • Producing a publication that addresses how states are financially supporting students of color and low-income students, the impact of need-based aid programs for increasing college completion and recommendations for addressing inconsistencies that may result when estimating the cost of attendance; 

Impact Statement: SEF aims to increase awareness of the true cost of attendance while highlighting the primary financial barriers that impact college completion for students of color and low-income students. Additionally, a key outcome of this work will be the development of a network of stakeholders in the South that is committed to improving need-based aid programs.  

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