The attainment of a postsecondary degree is generally regarded as a key stepping-stone to economic self-sufficiency. However, the rising costs of postsecondary education pose a formidable challenge to college persistence and completion, particularly for low-income students. This paper identifies three major challenges regarding the use of funds from public benefit programs to support the attainment of a college degree, including (1) many public benefits are designed so that students are not eligible, (2) many public benefit programs lack sufficient funding, and (3) there is public resistance to students accessing public benefits. The paper concludes by offering recommendations for addressing these concerns in order to move toward the creation of a more comprehensive system of financial supports for low-income college students.
Bolstering Non-Traditional Student Success: A Comprehensive Student Aid System Using Financial Aid, Public Benefits, and Refundable Tax Credits
Center for Law and Social Policy