Section 1. It is declared that for the benefit of the people of the commonwealth, the increase of their commerce, welfare and prosperity and the improvement of their health and living conditions, it is essential that this and future generations of youth be given the fullest opportunity to learn and to develop their intellectual capacity and skills. It is declared further that the people of the commonwealth have a direct interest in promoting the education of its citizens and in maintaining and strengthening its system of higher education and that such actions are likely to result in a higher standard of living and higher levels of employment for citizens of the commonwealth. It is recognized that costs connected with undergraduate and graduate higher education are increasingly burdensome and that it is essential that students attending institutions for higher education in the commonwealth and residents of the commonwealth attending institutions for higher education outside the commonwealth, as well as parents and others responsible for paying the costs thereof, be provided with lower cost financial assistance and with convenient and effective savings programs in order to provide for such costs. It is also recognized that educational institutions for higher education within the commonwealth should be provided with appropriate additional means to provide financial assistance to qualified students and to parents and others responsible for paying the costs of education. It is also recognized that, in order to achieve these objectives, it is desirable for the commonwealth to make such financial assistance and savings programs available on a reciprocal basis to students in and residents of other states. Accordingly, it is the purpose of this chapter and the policy of the commonwealth to provide financial assistance, including loans and savings programs, for the benefit of residents of and students in the commonwealth, their parents and others responsible for the costs of their education and alternative methods to enable institutions for higher education in the commonwealth to assist qualified students, and to make such benefits available on a reciprocal basis to students and institutions in and residents of other states, all to the public benefit and good, to the extent and in the manner provided herein.