APPAM to honor Dynarski: Spencer Foundation Award for transformative ed policy work

September 26, 2017

Professor Susan Dynarski has been named a recipient of the Spencer Foundation Award by the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) for her noteworthy contributions through research and analysis in the field of education policy and management. She is specifically being recognized for her research on charter school effectiveness, student financial aid, the price elasticity of private school attendance, and the relationship between higher education and labor market outcomes.

Dynarski has long advocated making higher education more accessible by lowering or removing barriers at multiple stages of the university and college admissions process, whether that be by changing application processes or enhancing ease of enrollment. Her goal is to design policy changes that make higher education more accessible for low-income and first-generation college students. One example of this is her contributions to the “Go Blue Guarantee,” which pledges four years of free tuition for admitted in-state undergraduate students whose families earn less than $65,000 per year. The program is based, in part, on early results from the HAIL Scholarship pilot program, which Dynarski helped design and continues to monitor.

Dynarski has also proposed major changes to FASFA, including the possibility of eliminating the form altogether, consulted on financial aid reform across federal government agencies, and testified on education and tax policy before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and the President's Commission on Tax Reform. Dynarski is also a regular contributor to The Upshot from The New York Times.

Her award will be presented at the 2017 APPAM Fall Research Conference, hosted this year in Chicago.

Susan Dynarski is a professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, a professor of education at the University of Michigan's School of Education, and a professor of economics at the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She is co-founder and co-director of the Ford School’s Education Policy Initiative, which engages in applied, policy-relevant research designed to improve educational achievement and outcomes.