Innovative Strategies to Close Postsecondary Attainment Gaps: Institutional Debt-Forgiveness Programs

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The Institute for Higher Education Policy


Nationwide, 35 million adults have earned some college credits, but have yet to earn a degree. Many of these students struggle to afford the growing cost of postsecondary education and are unable to complete their degrees because of financial holds on their institutional accounts. These holds can be enormous barriers for today’s students, especially low-income students and students of color – discouraging them from remaining on the pathway to completion, while also preventing returning students from enrolling to complete a degree.   This report features an interview with leaders at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, who share details about the innovative debt-forgiveness program they implemented as a reenrollment strategy for students who stopped out of their university without completing a degree.



financial barriers, college affordability, low-income students, educational attainment, student loans