Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

A History of Financial Aid

The Storied Beginning of Student Financial Assistance

The very first record of financial assistance for higher education expenses occurred on May 9, 1643 when Lady Ann Radcliffe Mowlson (sometimes "Anne" or "Moulson") gave the sum of 100 English Pounds to Harvard College to support needy scholars.  The money was left to her by her husband, Thomas Mowlson, an alderman and a former Lord Mayor of London, following his passing. 

Five years after her husband's death, Lady Mowlson donated part of her inheritance toward the College's first endowed scholarship fund. This act gave birth to the earliest recorded example of student financial support in what is now the United States. 

Lady Mowlson's contribution was permanently remembered 251 years later when the women's annex of the (now) University was chartered in her maiden name, Radcliffe, by the Commonwealth of Massachussetts.

Three hundred twenty-two years later, on November 8, 1965, the United States Congress passed Public Law 89-329, 79 STAT 1219, which provided to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance to students in postsecondary and higher education. 

This public law is known as the Higher Education Act of 1965 and was signed into law by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John William McCormack, the Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate, Hubert H. Humphrey II, and the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.

There are nine (9) Titles in the Higher Education Act of 1965.  Title IV, Student Assistance, is the one that is of significance to students and parents in this tutorial.  Title IV specifically defines federal financial assistance to students across eight (8) Parts: 

Part A--Grants to Students
Part B--Federal Family Education Loan Program
Part C--Federal Work-study Programs
Part D--William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
Part E--Federal Perkins Loans
Part F--Need Analysis
Part G--General Provisions
Part H--Program Integrity