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Lee and Monday Calculate Costs of Financial Aid

Lee and Monday

Financing college in the United States is difficult to navigate, but the effects of the process on enrollment have rarely been quantified. IHE graduate Dr. Jason C. Lee and current doctoral student Alex Monday co-authored a research article that explores how financial aid verification on federal funding quantifiably affects enrollment. The article, “Estimating the Effects of Financial Aid Verification on College Enrollment,” was published in Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

The authors find that first-generation, low-income, and minority students of Tennessee are most negatively affected by the financial aid and verification processes. This is because they often lack resources and time to follow through on the paperwork, leading to “verification melt,” or when incomplete verification prevents the students from receiving financial aid.

From a policy perspective, the researchers suggest creating additional assistance measures and “targeted interventions” for students who are at risk for verification melt. In addition, later applicants have lower enrollment due to closer due dates, so FAFSA could also redistribute resources based on the timeline of application.

While verification is important to confirm that taxpayer money is going to students genuinely in need, the process deters enrollment and disproportionately affects minority students. The authors suggest that “the [verification] process can continue to be redesigned to protect against fraud while minimizing harm to selected students.”

Read the article here:

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PhD, 2017
Doctoral Student

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