Lumina Ideas Summit: New Models of Student Financial Support

The papers

A College Considerator
Robert Shireman, California Competes
Lande Ajose, California Competes


A Student Level Analysis of Financial Aid
Richard Rhoda, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Russ Deaton, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
David Wright, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Doug Mennen, Tennessee Higher Education Commission


States in the Driver’s Seat Brian T. Prescott, WICHE
David A. Longanecker, WICHE


Applying the Lessons of Behavioral Economics to Improve the Federal Student Loan Programs: Six Policy Recommendations
Angela Boatman, Vanderbilt University
Brent Evans, Vanderbilt University
Adela Soliz, Harvard University

Can Income-Driven Repayment Policies be Efficient, Effective, and Equitable?
Nicholas Hillman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jacob Gross, University of Louisville

College Affordability for Low Income Adults: Improving Returns on Investment for Families and Society
Barbara Gault, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Lindsey Reichlin, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Meghan Froehner, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Stephanie Roman, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

College Affordability: What Is It and How Can We Measure It?
Sandy Baum, George Washington University and The Urban Institute
Jennifer Ma, The College Board

College Costs: Students Can’t Afford Not to Know
Brad Hershbein, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Kevin Hollenbeck, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Systems
Beth Akers, Brookings Institution
Matthew Chingos, Brookings Institution

From Income-based Repayment Plans to an Income-based Loan System
Robert G. Sheets, George Washington Institute for Public Policy, George Washington University
Stephen Crawford, George Washington Institute for Public Policy, George Washington University


Moving the Needle: How Financial Aid Policies Can Help States Meet Student Completion Goals
Andy Carlson, SHEEO
Katie Zaback, SHEEO

Piecing Together the College Affordability Puzzle: Student Characteristics and Patterns of (Un)Affordability
Rashida Welbeck, MDRC
John Diamond, MDRC
Alexander Mayer, MDRC
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, MDRC
with Melvin Gutierrez, MDRC & Jessica Gingrich, MDRC

Putting Colleges on Notice: Crafting Smarter Strategies to Improve Affordability through Curbing Cost Increases
Alisa Hicklin Fryar, University of Oklahoma
Deven Carlson, University of Oklahoma


Securing America’s Future with a Free Two Year College Option Sara Goldrick-Rab, Education Optimists and University of Wisconsin-Madison
Nancy Kendall, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Should All Student Loan Payments Be Income-Driven? Benefits, Trade-offs, and Challenges
Lauren Asher, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
Diane Cheng, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
Jessica Thompson, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)

Message from the president
Rethinking how we pay for college

There are two unassailable truths about postsecondary education today. First, in this demanding global economy, having a postsecondary credential is increasingly important. In fact, it’s a must for anyone who hopes to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. Second: The cost of obtaining such a credential is increasingly high—so high, in fact, that far too many Americans are denied the opportunity to realize their college dreams.

Morning session

This situation is potentially disastrous, not merely for tens of thousands of individual students, but for all of us as Americans. This nation faces an urgent and growing need for talent. We simply can’t afford to waste the potential inherent in our citizens ― including the growing numbers of individuals from traditionally underserved groups: low-income students, first-generation students, students of color and adult learners.

Clearly, increasing the level of college-level learning is the best way to meet the nation’s need for talent. That’s why Lumina Foundation is committed to the effort to reach Goal 2025: By the year 2025, we want 60 percent of Americans to hold a high-quality degree, certificate or other postsecondary credential. We know, however, that this goal can’t be reached unless and until the nation tackles the problem of college affordability. In fact, we are convinced the time has come to fundamentally rethink our national approach to student financial aid.

That, in brief, was the impetus for this series of papers. Last spring, Lumina sent out a request for comprehensive policy papers that address the areas of college affordability, loan repayment and federal-state-institutional partnership for student financial aid. The response to that request was robust and gratifying, and we chose to fund the publication of 15 such papers, all of them available here.

Afternoon session

Our goal in this series is not to prescribe a particular solution or choose one course of action. Rather, we seek to generate innovative ideas for improving the ways in which postsecondary education is paid for in this country—and to stimulate further discussion on that vital topic. It’s important to note, then, that each paper reflects the views and recommendations of its authors, not those of Lumina Foundation.

Still, we are struck—and quite encouraged ― by some of the common messages across these papers. For example:

That college affordability is about more than tuition and fees—that it must also incorporate real-world cost-of-living factors such as transportation, child care, food and rent. While we’ve known this fact for a long time, it’s striking to consider given the nature of the students served by postsecondary institutions today.

That students need unbiased, timely, credible information about the cost and long-term value of college ― but that simply having such information is not sufficient to make college possible for all who need and want it. We also need to move students to act on that information.

That we must adopt a sense of shared responsibility for making college affordable. This means building a system in which all entities involved ― federal and state governments, institutions, and students and their families—do their part.

We’re grateful to the authors for wrestling with these issues and delivering these messages so thoughtfully, and we at Lumina are proud to provide this platform for their work.

Again, it is our hope that these papers stimulate constructive dialogue and action that can make higher education more affordable and more equitable. To that important end, I commend these papers to you, and I urge you to join the discussion.


Read more information about the Ideas Summit »