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William Elliott III

Associate Professor
Director of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI)
Primary office:
785-864-2283
Twente Hall
Room 309


Dr. William Elliott III is an associate professor at the University of Kansas (KU) and founder of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI) in KU’s School of Social Welfare. He received his Ph.D. and master’s in social work from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Geneva College in Beaver Fall, PA. Dr. Elliott is a non-resident Senior Research Fellow for New America’s Asset Building Program. He has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Distinguished Recent Contributions in Social Work Education and the 2016 University of Kansas Scholarly Achievement Award.

He is a leading researcher in the fields of children's savings and college debt. However, is research interests are broadly focused on public policies related to issues of economic inequality and social development. Numerous news and media outlets such as the National Journal, PBS News Hour, NPR, US News, the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, and others have featured his work. His research has served as the impetus for Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs and policies across the U.S. He is currently conducting research on the following CSA programs: Prosperity Kids in New Mexico, K2C in San Francisco, Promise Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He has received research funding from such sources as the Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Citi foundation.

Teaching Interests

  • Policy, statistics, and research methods

Research Interests

  • Economic, educational, and racial disparities
  • Social policy
  • Mental health
  • Child development

Selected Publications

Elliott, W. (2015). How student debt stunts financial growth. The Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/how-student-debt-stunts-financial-growth/386300/

Elliott, W., & Lewis, M. (2015). The real college debt crisis: How student borrowing threatens financial well-being and erodes the American dream. .

Elliott, W. (2014). The American dream and moving up. http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary.aspx?id=34644e15-8b3b-4f7b-952a-5f958049c056

Elliott, W. (2014). Student loans: Are we getting our money’s worth? . Change: The Magazine of Higher Education, 46(4), 26-33.

Elliott, W., & Lewis, M. (2014). The student debt problem in America: It is not enough to say, “students will eventually recover” .

Elliott, W., & Lewis, M. (2014). Unequal outcomes: Student loan effects on young adults’ net worth accumulation .

Elliott, W., Constance-Huggins, M., & Song, H. (2013). Improving college progress among low- to moderate-income (LMI) young adults: The role of assets. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34, 382-399. http://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/WP11-15.pdf

Elliott, W., & Nam, I. (2013). Is student deb jeopardizing the short-term financial health of U.S. households? Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 95(5).

Elliott, W. (2013). Small-Dollar children's savings accounts and children's college outcomes. Children Youth and Services, 35(3), 572-585.

Elliott, W., Song, H., & Nam, I. (2013). Small-Dollar children's savings accounts and children's college outcomes by income level. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 560-571.

Elliott, W. (2013). The effects of economic instability on children's educational outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 461-371.

Cheatham, G., & Elliott, W. (2013). The effects of family college savings on postsecondary school enrollment rates of students with disabilities. Economics of Education Review, 33(1), 31-51.

Elliott, W. (Ed.). (2013). Building Expectations and Delivering Results: Asset-based financial aid and the future of higher education. Biannual report on assets and education field ( ), . Report released by Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI).

Ellott, W. (2013). Student loans are not the answer. Politico

Selected Presentations

Elliott, W. (03/02/2015). Postsecondary Education as an Asset: An Investment for Financial Well-Being and Autonomy. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans (PACFCYA) Postsecondary Education Working Group. Washington, DC

Elliott, W. (12/31/2014). Do college expectations mediate the effects of parental college savings on four-year college attendance among Hispanic youth. SSWR. San Antonio, TX

Elliott, W. (11/01/2013 - 11/30/2013). The future of student loans and financing higher education. Generation debt: The promise, perils, and future of student loans . Federal Reserve in St. Louis, MO

Elliott, W. (11/01/2013 - 11/30/2013). The student debt crisis. American Studies Association K-16 Collaboration Committee . Washington, DC

Elliott, W. (10/01/2013 - 10/31/2013). From a debt-dependent to an asset based financial aid model. Woodstock 40th Anniversary . Chicago, IL

Elliott, W. (02/01/2013 - 02/28/2013). Household balances sheets and college graduation. Household balances sheets. St. Louis Federal Reserve, St. Louis, MO.

Elliott, W. (05/31/2012). Taking Stock. Assets @21: Lessons from the past, directions for the future. National Conference, New American Foundation. Washington, DC

Elliott, W. & Friedline, T. (03/31/2012). You pay your share, we’ll pay our share: The college cost burden and the role of race, income, and college assets. Assets and Research Symposium, University of Kansas National Conference. Lawrence, KS

Selected Grants

Elliott, William, (Principal), Assets and Education Initiative: Children's Savings Project, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, $450,000, Submitted 02/02/2015 (12/01/2014 - 11/30/2016) . Foundation. Status: Funded.

Elliott, William, (Principal), Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion: Regional Approach to Validating CSAs Project, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, $500,000, Submitted 03/27/2015 (05/01/2015 - 04/30/2016) . Foundation. Status: Funded.

Elliott, William, (Principal), Children's Savings Accounts: Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities, Ford Foundation, $231,944, Submitted 04/14/2015 (05/01/2015 - 04/30/2016) . Foundation. Status: Funded.


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