Financial Aid, Access & Equity, and State Policy
Many states are looking at effective ways to use financial incentives to encourage students to complete a postsecondary credential. JFF’s new report, Statewide Aid Policies to Improve College Access and Success, originally commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Vision Project, has provided valuable background for that project’s Working Group on Graduation and Student Success Rates.
In February 2012, Diane Ward, director of state education policy at JFF, interviewed Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts, on the context of the report in this era of increasingly constrained financial resources as the state pursues a dual goal: increasing the number of low-income students completing a credential, while also closing the racial achievement gap in postsecondary attainment.
Working with the Board of Higher Education, Dr. Freeland provides overall direction to public higher education and helps shape state-level policies that maximize the benefits of higher education to the Commonwealth and its citizens. Previously, he was president of Northeastern University for ten years. Under his leadership, Northeastern pursued excellence as a national research university that is student centered, practice oriented, and urban.