Reflections on the Pingel/Prescott Interview

by: Kathryn Dodge

I applaud the formulation of the valuable redesign ideas and it brings to mind challenges for states and institutions.

States have been known to readjust budget allocations half way through the fiscal year; this has serious implications for intentions of funding students who decide close to the beginning of the academic year.

Institutional aid has been, in recent years primarily directed to meet enrollment and student persistence goals, only institutions with the highest endowments have the luxury of considering other options, prioritizing what has been labeled as student-centered objectives, the first principle in the report.  Many institutions and states have, for a number of years, used merit aid in ways that are not consistent with intended outcomes. When it comes to survival, well-grounded principles are challenged.

Brian’s magic wand issue on eliminating equity gaps.  

Anecdotes work, they appeal to the human heart.  We must find a way to use data in a way that can appeal to the human heart as well if we want to further good policy in the context of politics.

Quiet creativity.

Some states with long-term budget issues have had to create programs that engage institutions in creative ways and that suit the culture of the state.  Too bad there is no press about it.  For example, New Hampshire’s former Leveraged Incentive Grant Program provided a one-to-one state match for institutions who raise new dollars. It provided institutions with an incentive to support needy NH students as well as their own institutional objectives.  A great state/institutional partnership that worked well for public and private institutions while the state was in the financial aid program business.

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