UTEP Joins Research Center Effort to Innovate Financial Aid
Last Updated on September 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published September 11, 2019
By UC Staff
The University of Texas at El Paso has joined a select group of Texas colleges and universities in a project designed to develop effective and innovative approaches to financial aid.
The initiative is being launched by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, a nonprofit research center focused on rethinking and restructuring higher education. The initiative, titled “The Real Price of College: Improving Estimates of Demonstrated Financial Need,” is supported with a $650,000 grant from Lumina Foundation.
The project's aim is to help the participating institutions develop enhanced ways to determine students’ financial need, provide more accurate estimates of cost of attendance, and improve communications related to financial need and price for students, their families and institutional stakeholders.
“Participation in this exciting new initiative reflects UTEP’s long-standing commitment to college affordability and access to quality educational opportunities,” said Gary Edens, Ed.D., UTEP vice president for student affairs. “We are pleased to add our voice and leadership to this important national discussion.”
UTEP will take part in the initiative with El Paso Community College, Amarillo College, West Texas A&M University, Dallas Community College District, and San Jacinto College.
The participating colleges will re-evaluate two components of the financial aid formula – the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC) – and will develop tools to help colleges and universities utilize the information gathered.
Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D., a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University, founded the Hope Center. She visited the UTEP campus to discuss research and advocacy for low-income students in 2018.
“Our work demonstrates that when students don’t know what college really costs, they have trouble making ends meet, even falling short on money for food and housing,” Goldrick-Rab said. “Community colleges and public universities are also dealing with their own budget crunches; we hope this project will help them identify cost-effective ways to help students.”
The project will last 18 months.