How Effective Is Student Aid? Without More Research, It's Impossible to Know

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NASFAA launches the Dallas Martin Endowment for Public Policy and Student Aid to support student aid research and policy analysis

With the goal of expanding student aid research and policy analysis, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has launched its fundraising campaign for the Dallas Martin Endowment. The endowment was created to further NASFAA's mission by advancing research and best practices in public policy and student aid, as well as to grow the next generation of leaders in the student aid arena.

The U.S. spends billions of dollars on student aid each year, but many questions remain unanswered: Is our current system effective? Is it helping enough? Is it reaching the students who need it most? What kinds of aid encourage enrollment and program completion? Are there better ways to eliminate financial barriers to college? Current research simply isn't enough to fully answer these questions. Without greater focus on student aid research and policy analysis, lawmakers, policymakers, and advocacy groups are all operating in the dark, gambling with taxpayer money and students' futures.

The endowment's namesake, Dr. Dallas Martin, Jr., worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill as an advocate for student aid before retiring as NASFAA president in 2007.

"Dallas dedicated his career to helping students achieve their higher education goals," said NASFAA President & CEO Dr. Philip R. Day. "His was the constant voice of reason when legislation and regulations endangered equity in student aid."

During more than three decades with NASFAA, Martin united the higher education community around NASFAA's goals to increase access to higher education.

"But we are still a long way off from achieving those goals," said David Gruen, Director of Financial Aid at the University of Wyoming and the 2008 NASFAA National Chair. "Unfortunately, lack of funding still prevents many low-income students from attending or completing their degrees. More must be done."

Finding the best ways to achieve those goals is the primary purpose of the Dallas Martin Endowment. Endowment funds will be used to sponsor at least two, semester-length internships for upper-division undergraduate or graduate students who have an interest in student aid with a particular focus on policy analysis and/or research. The work of these interns will contribute significantly to the knowledge base and advocacy efforts of the financial aid community.

The funds will also be used to create an Information Resource Center and Library on Public Policy and Student Aid - the first of its kind in the United States.

For more information, visit

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 15,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. Each year, financial aid professionals help more than 16 million students receive funding for postsecondary education. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. In addition to its member Web site at, the Association offers a Web site with financial aid information for parents and students at


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