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  • Create a “Millennium Education Trust Fund” using the sale of unused communications spectrum over the next few years (with proceeds possibly greater than $18 billion) to provide students with the skills necessary for an age of innovation.


In addition, the federal government can help the states improve access to higher education for all Americans through several actions:

  • Focus national resources on improving the purchasing power of Pell awards.13

  • Increase flexibility for states to buy more subsidized loan eligibility from the federal government.14

  • Expand and restructure the LEAP program to allow private-sector matches from such organizations as Scholarship America and community foundations.15

  • Institute a voucher program that would give more money to students from low-income homes.16

  • Mandate that both public and private institutions use the average “net price” of attendance instead of the stated “sticker price” in all federal grant and loan programs to determine who qualifies for student-aid awards and how much they should be awarded. Using sticker prices as the official institutional “cost of attendance” misrepresents the actual average cost of attendance in most federal and state student-aid programs.17

  • Consider eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Changing laws to permit the use of Internal Revenue Service data to assess qualification for financial aid can simplify processes, save hundreds of millions of dollars, and remove bureaucratic barriers to postsecondary access.18


Dickeson, 2004.






R. Vedder. Growing Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much. Washington, DC: AEI Press, 2004.


A. F. King. “Policy Implications of Changes in Higher Education Finance.” Presentation to the National Academies’ Board on Higher Education and Workforce, April 21-22, 2005.


Dickeson, 2004.

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