- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0015
- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0015
Financial aid refers to money provided to students to help them pay the tuition, fees, and other charges associated with attending postsecondary education. Financial aid is both a practitioner and a scholarly field. Practitioners include those professionals in universities, governmental agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who are responsible for managing and administering financial-aid programs. Scholars who generally come from fields such as education, economics, political science, and public policy conduct research on the effects that financial aid has on a number of outcomes, including but not limited to access to college, college choice, retention and persistence through college, degree attainment, student experiences and behaviors in college, equity and diversity, social outcomes, and post-college behavior and experiences. Financial aid can be provided in different forms, including the following: grants (also known as “scholarships” or “bursaries”), which are discounts provided to students to reduce the price of college attendance; loans, which allow students to overcome credit constraints and postpone when they pay for postsecondary education; and work study, which is a program of subsidized jobs for students while they are enrolled in college. Each of these forms of financial aid can be provided from different sources, including governmental organizations, colleges and universities themselves, and private sources such as philanthropic or service organizations as well as commercial providers. Financial aid is an important part of the postsecondary financing system in the United States and has existed since the first universities were developed during the colonial era, but the United States is not the only country that has financial aid for college or university attendance. Other countries around the world have developed financial-aid systems in more recent years, though because financial aid is a more recent phenomenon in these other countries, there is generally less research and data available than in the United States.
There are a variety of books that cover different aspects of financial aid. Few would be considered classic textbooks; more are the result of research studies conducted on the effects of financial aid, as noted in the introduction. Leslie and Brinkman 1988 provides an excellent meta-analysis of research studies on the impact of financial aid on college enrollment and persistence. Kane 1999 and Mumper 1996 provide historical and economic analyses of state and government financial aid programs, while McPherson and Schapiro 1998 and Wilkinson 2005 focus more on aid provided by institutions to students. Heller 2002 covers all three of these sources of aid, as does Hoxby 2004, which approaches the topic from primarily an econometric perspective. Johnstone and Marcucci 2010 provides a contemporary overview of financial aid policies from a comparative and international perspective. Barr and Crawford 2005 provides a contemporary take on student financial aid policy in the United Kingdom.
Barr, N., and I. Crawford. 2005. Financing higher education: Answers from the UK. London: Routledge.
Presents a history of student financial aid in the United Kingdom from the mid-1980s through the 2004 Higher Education Act.
Heller, D. E., ed. 2002. Condition of access: Higher education for lower income students. ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education. Westport, CT: Praeger.
An edited volume with chapters on government efforts as well as the efforts of colleges and universities to utilize financial aid to promote college access for lower-income students. Shows how those efforts have succeeded or failed.
Hoxby, C. M., ed. 2004. College choices: The economics of where to go, when to go, and how to pay for it. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Collection of papers by economists, sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, most of which are empirical analyses of the effects of financial aid on college participation.
Johnstone, D. B., and P. N. Marcucci. 2010. Financing higher education worldwide: Who pays? Who should pay? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.
An overview of the current status of financing higher education in countries around the world, with an emphasis on cost sharing, or the shifting of the burden from government financing to student resources.
Kane, T. 1999. The price of admission: Rethinking how Americans pay for college. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Analysis of the American postsecondary financing system and where it has failed to meet social needs. Also includes proposals for reforming the system.
Leslie, L. L., and P. T. Brinkman. 1988. The economic value of higher education. New York: American Council on Education/Macmillan.
A classic meta-analysis on the research behind tuition prices and financial aid on college access, choice, and persistence. It covers research over the approximately three decades up to the date of publication.
McPherson, M. S., and M. O. Schapiro. 1998. The student aid game: Meeting need and rewarding talent in American higher education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
One of a series of books on financial aid written by the same authors, with a focus on governmental and university grant programs for subsidizing the cost of postsecondary education.
Mumper, M. 1996. Removing college price barriers: What government has done and why it hasn’t worked. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.
A history of the efforts on the part of governments (both federal and state) in the United States to provide aid to college students, and the impact these efforts have had on college access, choice, and equity.
Wilkinson, R. 2005. Aiding students, buying students: Financial aid in America. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press.
A history of financial aid in the United States, written by a British scholar. Covers the period from the colonial era through modern times. Concludes with recommendations for reforming the system.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Academic Achievement
- Academic Audit for Universities
- Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
- Action Research in Education
- Adjuncts in Higher Education in the United States
- Administrator Preparation
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
- African American Racial Identity and Learning
- Alternative Certification Programs for Educators
- Alternative Schools
- American Indian Education
- Art Education
- Assessing School Leader Effectiveness
- Assessment, Behavioral
- Assessment, Educational
- Assessment in Early Childhood Education
- Athletics, College
- Beginning-Teacher Induction
- Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
- Blended Learning
- Case Study in Education Research
- Changing Professional and Academic Identities
- Character Education
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Children's Beliefs about Intelligence
- Children's Rights in Early Childhood Education
- Classroom Management
- College Admissions in the United States
- Community Relations
- Comparative Education
- Computer-Based Testing
- Counseling in Schools
- Critical Race Theory
- Crossborder and Transnational Higher Education
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogies
- Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United Stat...
- Curriculum Design
- Data Collection in Educational Research
- Data-driven Decision Making in the United States
- Deaf Education
- Desegregation and Integration
- Development, Moral
- Digital Age Teacher, The
- Distance Learning
- Distributed Leadership
- Doctoral Education and Training
- Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Denmark
- Early Childhood Education and Development in Mexico
- Early Childhood Education in Australia
- Early Childhood Education in China
- Early Childhood Education in Europe
- Early Childhood Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Early Childhood Education in Sweden
- Early Childhood Education Pedagogy
- Early Childhood Education Policy
- Early Childhood Education, The Arts in
- Early Childhood Mathematics
- Early Childhood Teacher Education
- Early Childhood Teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Early Years Professionalism and Professionalization Polici...
- Economics of Education
- Education For Children with Autism
- Education Leadership, Empirical Perspectives in
- Education Reform and School Change
- Educational Statistics for Longitudinal Research
- Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- Epistemic Beliefs
- Ethics and Education
- Ethics of Teaching
- Ethnic Studies
- Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention
- Family and Community Partnerships in Education
- Family Day Care
- Federal Government Programs and Issues
- Finance, Education
- Financial Aid
- Formative Assessment
- Gender and Achievement
- Gifted Education
- Global Mindedness and Global Citizenship Education
- Global University Rankings
- Governance, Education
- Grounded Theory
- Higher Education and Globalization
- Higher Education and the Developing World
- Higher Education Governance
- Higher Education in China
- Higher Education in the United States, Historical Evolutio...
- Higher Education, International Issues in
- Higher Education Management
- Higher Education Policy
- Higher Education Research
- Higher Education Student Assessment
- High-stakes Testing
- History of Education in the United States
- Inclusive Education
- Indigenous Education in a Global Context
- Inservice Teacher Education
- Integrating Art across the Curriculum
- Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with ...
- Intersectionality and Education
- Knowledge Development in Early Childhood
- Leadership Development, Coaching and Feedback for
- Leadership Training
- Learning Difficulties
- Learning, Lifelong
- Learning, Multimedia
- Learning Strategies
- Legal Matters and Education Law
- LGBT Youth in Schools
- Linguistic Diversity
- Linguistically Inclusive Pedagogy
- Literacy Development and Language Acquisition
- Literacy, Multiple Documents
- Literature Reviews
- Mathematics Instruction and Interventions for Students wit...
- Mathematics Teacher Education
- Measurement in Education in the United States
- Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis in Education
- Methodologies for Conducting Education Research
- Mindfulness, Learning, and Education
- Mixed Methods Research
- Multivariate Research Methodology
- Museums, Education, and Curriculum
- Music Education
- Narrative Research in Education
- Numeracy Education
- Online Education
- Pedagogy of Teacher Education, A
- Performance Objectives and Measurement
- Performance-based Research Assessment in Higher Education
- Performance-based Research Funding
- Phenomenology in Educational Research
- Philosophy of Education
- Physical Education
- Politics of Education
- Portable Technology for Special Education
- Pre-Service Teacher Education
- Problem Solving
- Professional Development
- Professional Learning Communities
- Program Evaluation
- Programs and Services for Students with Emotional or Behav...
- Psychology Learning and Teaching
- Psychometric Issues in the Assessment of English Language ...
- Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques
- Qualitative Research Design
- Quantitative Research Designs in Educational Research
- Race and Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- Reading Education
- Refugee and New Immigrant Learners
- Religion in Elementary and Secondary Education in the Unit...
- Researcher Development and Skills Training within the Cont...
- Response to Intervention
- Restorative Practices
- School Accreditation
- School Choice
- School Culture
- School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- School Reform
- Schools, Private and Independent
- School-Wide Positive Behavior Support
- Science Education
- Secondary to Postsecondary Transition Issues
- Self-Regulated Learning
- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Salary Schedule
- Single-sex Education
- Single-Subject Research Design
- Social Context of Education
- Social Justice
- Social Network Analysis
- Social Pedagogy
- Social Science and Education Research
- Social Studies Education
- Sociology of Education
- Standards-Based Education
- Statistical Assumptions
- Student Assignment Policy
- Student Engagement in Tertiary Education
- Student Participation
- Student Voice in Teacher Development
- Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness
- Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Training and Development
- Teacher Unions and Associations
- Teaching Critical Thinking
- Technology Education in Early Childhood
- Technology, Educational
- Technology-based Assessment
- The Bologna Process
- The Regulation of Standards in Higher Education
- Theories of Educational Leadership
- Tracking and Detracking
- Transitions in Early Childhood Education
- University Faculty Roles and Responsibilities in the Unite...
- Using Ethnography in Educational Research
- Value of Higher Education for Students and Other Stakehold...
- Vocational and Technical Education
- Wellness and Well-Being in Education
- Women's and Gender Studies