Postsecondary decisions, state financial aid, and college affordability

July 2022 - Current

Project Summary

This study aims to understand student, counselor, and policy maker experiences with state financial aid programs, like the Tuition Incentive Program, and how they shape student postsecondary decisions and the affordability of postsecondary options in Michigan. Using interviews with high school students, high school counselors, college advisors, and those tasked with outreach and implementation, we will better understand multiple perspectives on state financial aid implementation and its usefulness at giving students more postsecondary choices. 

We plan to talk to students and counselors about all the options that students consider after high school, and the way state financial aid does or does not fit into those decisions. We hope to talk to students who are considering work or continuing their education after high school, and those students who are still figuring it out. The outcomes of this study will provide valuable insights for policymakers seeking to make students’ postsecondary decisions easier, advising students on their options more straightforward, and postsecondary education more affordable.

Research Objectives

This study will answer the following critical research questions:

  • How do statewide financial aid policies shape student decisions?
  • What can we learn from the implementation of these programs to inform policy design which meet students' needs?


We have partnered with several state-based and educational access organizations to conduct this study. Our partners include:


This study is funded by the United States Department of Education and Institute of Education Sciences grant number R305A220070 to the University of Michigan. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Interested in learning more about the study? Contact us at [email protected]