Publication | December 18, 2023

New Report Examines Funding Needed to “Close the College Affordability Gap”

Author: Dr. Donald E. Heller

Note: We published Part 2 of this research on May 30, 2024. You can read it here

TICAS partnered with higher education researcher Dr. Donald E. Heller to examine the “affordability gap” that students are facing when paying for college.  

The report uses federal data to determine the so-called “college affordability gap” in three states—California, Michigan, and New York—with a focus on students who are eligible for the federal Pell Grant.  

The affordability gap is defined in this analysis as the gap between a student’s total costs of attending college—including tuition, fees, housing, food, and other expenses—and the amount of non-loan aid available to them: a combination of family resources, grant aid, and earnings from a reasonable number of work hours.  

The report then examines how much the example states would need to invest close this gap for Pell-eligible students, with the goal of a $0 gap for such students.  

This analysis builds on TICAS’ ongoing efforts to build a debt-free future for all students.