Re-Opening the Door to College: Solutions for Restoring Federal Aid to Those Who Need It


With the current discussions of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act underway, a unique opportunity now exists to make a college education accessible to every academically-qualified person.

Federal and state financial aid have both recently undergone a shift from a focus on need-based aid such as grants to a greater emphasis tax incentives which are largely inaccessible to low- and moderate-income families, as well as loans and non-need based merit awards. One result of this shift and the continuing increases in college tuition is that the lowest-achieving rich students have as good of a chance of attending college as the smartest poor students.

The speakers will survey the current political landscape and offer their visions for an improved financial aid system.


The New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave., NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC, 20009


  • Thomas Wolanin
    Senior Associate, The Institute for Higher Education Policy

  • Richard D Kahlenberg
    Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation and Editor, America's Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education

  • Krista Kafer
    Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation

  • Julie Strawn
    Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy