The Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (CHEPA) at USC’s Rossier School of Education was awarded a $530,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education for a three-year national study of Individual Development Accounts (IDA). Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. Through grants for research, innovation, communication and evaluation, as well as policy education and leadership development, Lumina Foundation addresses issues that affect access and educational attainment among all students, especially underserved student groups such as minorities, students from low-income families, first-time college-goers and working adults. The Foundation believes postsecondary education is one of the most beneficial investments individuals can make in themselves and that a society can make in its people. IDAs have not had widespread use in education, but have great potential in giving low-income students the opportunity to attend and succeed in college.
The grant has three objectives: to understand the role the IDAs currently play in creating access to college through asset development; to examine the potential of the programs for growth with respect to increasing access to education for low-income students; and to explore challenges to and facilitators of growth and expansion of IDAs within the higher education sector.