The US Department of Education recently released its 2020-21 College Financing Plan template, formerly known as the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. The College Financing Plan is a standardized form used by participating institutions to notify students about their financial aid package. The department relied on input from financial aid administrators, students, parents, and other stakeholders to develop the new template.
Could changing the federal financial aid structure help more student-parents earn a degree?
A recent op-ed published by the Center for American Progress argues that awarding larger Pell Grants could help more parents persist to graduation.
“These funds would not be enough to cover anywhere close to the full cost of child care—nor would they address underlying structural issues related to the lack of available spots in high-quality child care options—but they would at least recognize that parents face larger costs than nonparents, including for things that go beyond child care, such as food or clothing,” Ben Miller, vice president for postsecondary education at American Progress, notes in his column.
Financial aid award letters have long been a topic of conversation within the college admission counseling profession, and as discussions about reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) intensify, Congress seems poised to join the conversation.
If passed, higher education institutions would be required to use a uniform financial aid offer form containing standardized definitions. According to the bill’s sponsors, the move is intended to ensure colleges provide information to students and families in “a consumer-friendly manner that is simple and understandable.”
Financial literacy is not typically a top priority for American teens but new research shows that taking a course in personal finance could help teens borrow more responsibly for college.
Researchers at Montana State University found when students are required to take personal finance courses to graduate high school, they are more likely to shift from high-cost borrowing to low-cost borrowing to finance their college degree.
Students who took these classes were about 10 percent more likely to apply for federal financial aid and take out a federal loan than those without financial education, according to the study.