Student Financial Supports

Back To Looking Back to Move Forward

Looking Back to Move Forward, Part 4

Form and Formula: How the Federal Government Distributes Aid to Students

Form and Formula: How the Federal Government Distributes Aid to Students explains the history of need analysis—the method used to determine the amount of federal aid a student receives—and the method of collecting financial data from students and families. The system of determining need began with colleges and universities each establishing how best to distribute institutional aid while using their own forms to collect data, and evolved to the creation of a robust, national form and formula regulated by the federal government. This 13-minute film closely follows this evolution by documenting the passage of several seminal pieces of higher education legislation and following the diverse efforts of institutions, associations, and policymakers in determining the best form and formula to use when providing students and their families with money for college. Read more about the film participants.


Viewing guide for part 4

Form and Formula: How the Federal Government Distributes Aid to Students


What did you think about the film's reflection of student aid history?