Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published on Admitted in March 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.
Getting into college is only half the battle for teens living in poverty.
To prove eligibility for financial aid, many colleges ask low-income students to submit a mountain of paperwork — going beyond what is required of their middle- and upper-income peers, NACAC member Joshua Steckel wrote in a 2016 opinion column published by The Boston Globe.
The process is burdensome, he noted. Worst of all, it can discourage talented students from accessing the financial support they need to attend college.
Planning how to finance a four-year degree has become a more prominent part of the college application process.
A new e-learning course from NACAC is now available to help college counselors and admission officers confidently field financial aid questions from families.
More than just a webinar or educational session, the online course—Financial Aid 101— includes eight easy-to-use learning modules packed with information on subjects like loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study. Informative graphics and videos break down key concepts, while quizzes help you measure your progress.
The majority of US parents expect their children to attend college, but most neglect to budget for the costs associated with higher education, national survey data shows.
“Despite the wide array of approaches families might take to build a plan to pay for college, most don’t have a plan,” according to this year’sHow America Pays for College study. “Although nearly nine in 10 families have anticipated their child’s college attendance since preschool, fewer than half that many agree they had a plan to pay for all years of college before the student enrolled.”
California residents can now go to community college for free.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in early October that gives students one year of free tuition at any of state’s 114 community colleges, as long as they are California residents and new students enrolling full-time, CNN reported.
This new legislation expands on what California already offered. Community colleges in the state currently charge residents $46 per credit — amounting to a cost of roughly $1,100 a year for students who enroll full-time.
What if America’s private colleges could stop their annual increases in tuition or even drop their prices down?
The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) has an idea it says would do just that.
NAICU has recommended that Congress give private, nonprofit colleges a temporary anti-trust exemption for the purposes of promoting affordability.
Current laws ban discussion about prices and discounts — including student aid — among competitors in any industry. NAICU says that this has led to a vicious cycle of ongoing tuition inflation and has forced private colleges to offer larger and larger discounts on the sticker price to stay competitive.
They believe that if schools could talk to one another, they could end this cycle and start targeting financial aid to the students who need it most. The thinking is that if everyone made the decision to collectively lower tuition, then no college would feel like it “lost” because it wasn’t offering the huge discounts that are currently available to counter price inflation.