Paying for college is difficult for many individuals and families. College prices continue on an upward trend, wages and earnings for many families have been flat or only have shown marginal growth over the past several decades, and concerns about student indebtedness are on the rise. Taken together, these factors create a challenging environment for individuals seeking financial support to complete a postsecondary degree program.
In recognition of the challenges of paying for higher education, decision-makers at the federal and state levels support college-going with public policy. Through direct institutional allocations, need and merit-based financial aid programs, and the provision of student loans, government policy has provided access to funds to reduce the price of participating in postsecondary education for many individuals. This is particularly true at the state level.