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Abt Wins Opportunity to Help Improve Financial Aid Systems for College Students

Rockville, Md.  – Access to middle class jobs increasingly requires a college degree or other postsecondary credential; college graduates earn more, are less likely to suffer job losses in a recession and are projected to have better long-term labor market prospects. But some students can’t afford postsecondary education on their own.  

In the 2015-2016 school year, 72 percent of U.S. college students received financial aid—including student loans. Many of those students depend on that assistance to complete their college degrees. The Department of Education (ED) administers more than $120 billion in student financial aid each year, and is responsible for promoting repayment, minimizing default risk, and protecting taxpayers, but rigorous evaluations of that work are needed. Abt Associates has been awarded a contract to evaluate strategies designed to improve the federal student aid system.

Through this contract, Abt will assess and support the piloting of improvements to the system under the Experimental Sites Initiative.  By combining Abt’s understanding of this policy area with a proven approach to conducting the experiments, the company can quickly design evaluations that will help improve the federal financial aid system.  Abt’s first evaluation is examining the short-term effectiveness of annual student loan counseling on students’ borrowing and persistence in college.

“This contract underlines  Abt’s longtime commitment to promoting access to education,” said Abt Principal Associate Tamara Linkow, Ph.D. “It also builds  on our similarly longstanding relationships with Federal Student Aid and Institute of Education Sciences.”

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives worldwide. From increasing crop yields and combatting infectious disease, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.

Eric Tischler
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