Form and Formula: How the Federal Government Distributes Aid to Students (Viewing Guide)
Institute for Higher Education Policy
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This report explains the history of need analysis – the method used to determine the amount of federal aid a student receives – and the method of collecting financial data from students and families. The system of determining need began with colleges and universities each establishing how best to distribute institutional aid while using their own forms to collect data, and evolved to the creation of a robust, national form and formula regulated by the federal government. This 15-minute film closely follows this evolution by documenting the passage of several seminal pieces of higher education legislation and following the diverse efforts of institutions, associations, and policymakers in determining the best form and formula to use when providing students and their families with federal money for college. To complement the film, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has developed a viewing guide that provides a historical look at the distribution mechanisms for financial aid.