News & Events / Institute for Higher Education Policy Help to Reimagine Financial Aid and Increase Postsecondary Access, Success, and Completion

Institute for Higher Education Policy Help to Reimagine Financial Aid and Increase Postsecondary Access, Success, and Completion

Published May 13, 2014

Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2012—The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced a new initiative to explore policy recommendations for improving financial aid so that more students can attend and succeed in college, and ultimately earn valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials. Through the project, “Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD),” IHEP will focus on postsecondary financial aid solutions that ensure continued access while also increasing success for low-income students.

The RADD project is intended to accomplish two goals: (1) To shift the national conversation on federal financial aid toward ideas that will make college more affordable, while giving students the support and encouragement they need to earn their degree or credential; and (2) to seed the field with innovative policies that can make that happen.

To culminate its work in the RADD project, IHEP will present a white paper focusing on the near-term and long-range needs of financial aid to help more students gain access to and succeed in college. The publication will present synthesized information that has been gathered through a series of surveys and focus groups—including responses from a mix of thought leaders who represent business, higher education, civil rights, and public policy sectors—to offer a framework of principles that can guide decisions on proposed financial aid policies by weighing the benefits and consequences of such policies.

“We’re pleased to be a contributor on the RADD project. Our goal will be to ensure that the solutions and strategies position more low- and moderate-income students to take advantage of postsecondary opportunities that lead to high-quality degrees and credentials,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “The current economic crisis and looming policy conversations provide catalysts for higher education leaders to coalesce around real changes to the way we think about how financial aid policies help students get into and through college and successfully contribute to society.”

In addition to IHEP, there are 13 other organizations working on the RADD project that include:

  • Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities
  • Center for Law & Social Policy
  • Excelencia in Education
  • HCM Strategists
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • National College Access Network
  • New America Foundation
  • The Education Trust
  • The Institute for College Access & Success
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Young Invincibles

The RADD project supports the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s overall commitment to helping students obtain the credentials they need to be competitive in the workforce, and to helping institutions improve while managing costs in tough times.

“We believe financial aid is an important piece of the completion puzzle,” said Daniel Greenstein, director, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Not only does it open doors for students, but when done right, financial aid can also increase the likelihood that young adults complete their educations. There is a lot to learn and we’re excited about beginning the conversation and finding out what the research will discover.”

The 14 organizations involved in the RADD project, including IHEP, will receive a total of $3.3 million in grants.

For more information about the RADD project, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success webpage.

To learn more about IHEP, visit the organization’s website at