Beyond Financial Aid Toolkit

Posted by Lumina Foundation on July 6, 2015

Helping Higher Ed Support Low-Income Student Success

With one in three college students defined as low-income, Lumina released Beyond Financial Aid to be a toolkit designed to help two- and four-year institutions close attainment gaps for low-income students. BFA expands the concept of “financial supports” for college beyond grants, scholarships and loans and describes six college-tested strategies for helping low-income students overcome the significant challenges created by limited resources. BFA features a self-assessment that college teams can use to analyze their service capacities and an interpretation guide to help map out their first steps toward strengthening these capacities.


1. Know the low-income students at your institution by reviewing quantitative and qualitative institutional data to better understand the experiences of low-income students.

2. Provide supports to help low-income students overcome practical barriers by bundling diverse on-campus and off-campus resources and centralizing their access.

3. Leverage external partnerships for service delivery by connecting with groups that have shared missions and values and can help bring services to students.

4. Empower low-income students to use available resources by normalizing the use of financial supports. Also consider opt-out versus opt-in models.

5. Review your internal processes from the student’s perspective. This can uncover unintended impacts and suggest ways to revise and streamline processes and policies.

6. Implement effective practices to strengthen the academic progression of all students, knowing that these practices can make a greater difference for low-income students.

More in "New Resources"

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.