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Financial Aid

IN AN EFFORT TO GET AMERICA’S recently unemployed workers back to work, the Obama administration has implemented several initiatives to encourage them to learn new job skills through postsecondary education. These initiatives are likely to affect higher education institutions and provide additional opportunities to educate workers who have been negatively impacted by the economic downturn.


IN THE MEDIA, FINANCIAL aid coverage tends to focus on topics such as the tensions between funding merit scholarships versus need-based grants, the growth in student and parent borrowing, and the need to increase funding for Federal Pell Grants. Federal or state work-study programs get little focus.


Hardly a day goes by without a college announcing jobs, programs, or spending cuts. You would think with all the brainpower at our colleges and universities they would be able to come up with better solutions than lopping off people, sections and services to students. But they don’t seem to. Why not?


Today’s economic conditions are monopolizing discussions among leadership teams and boards of trustees at many colleges and universities. It is a nerve-wracking time, to say the least. Financial stresses now loom very large in pending decisions about enrollment, tuition increases, net revenue, financial aid policies, and discount rates.

Here are four immediate strategies to consider how to manage these challenges in ways that do not compromise an institution’s long-term strategy and sustainability: