There is increasing recognition in California and nationally that the financial aid students receive to attend college should address the cost of attendance beyond tuition and fees, since living expenses – particularly housing expenses – often make up the largest share of students’ budgets. Consequently, recent financial aid reform efforts at the state and federal levels have focused on aligning the structure of financial aid with the total cost of attendance. Cost of attendance estimates are determined by individual higher education institutions and are used by state and federal financial aid departments to calculate students’ financial aid award amounts. Currently, there is no standardized methodology for how colleges calculate off-campus housing cost of attendance estimates, which can create inaccurate and incomparable estimates across colleges. Bringing consistency and uniformity to how the cost of college is reported across institutions will better support students in their college investment decisions and create a standardized process by which financial aid eligibility is calculated. This Issue Brief compares three potential options for calculating off-campus housing costs and the benefits and limitations of each, and outlines approaches state policymakers could take to ensure cost estimates are standardized at higher education institutions across California.
You may also be interested in the following resources:
Guide to School Funding and the State Budget ProcessEvery year, California’s governor and Legislature adopt a state budget that provides a framework and funding for critical public services and systems — from child care and health care to housing and transportation to colleges and K-12 schools. But the state budget is about more than dollars and cents. The budget expresses our values as … ContinuedCalifornia BudgetEducation
More Support Needed For California K-12 Students Experiencing HomelessnessHaving a safe, stable place to live is crucial for student development and educational success. But more than 220,000 of California’s public K-12 students experienced homelessness in 2020-21. This includes children temporarily staying with other families due to economic hardship, and children living in motels, shelters, vehicles, public spaces, or substandard housing. Latinx, Black, American … ContinuedEducationHousing & Homelessness
Don't miss an update.
Join our email list!