What’s Aid Got to Do With It? The Importance of Incorporating Financial Aid Data in California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System
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States invest heavily in education, providing funding either directly or in the form of financial aid from preschool through college, with positive outcomes from those impacting nearly every other area of public policy, particularly the workforce. To understand and assess results, states collect and analyze information about these investments at various levels, and most have already created longitudinal data systems. These systems empower students to make better-informed decisions and provide policymakers with a deeper understanding of the factors that shape student outcomes in order to create public policy to address state priorities. This examines how states – Texas, Virginia, and Maryland – have utilized financial aid data in their longitudinal and higher education data systems and provides recommendations for how California can follow suit to build a longitudinal data system that will help address equity gaps within the state.