Financial aid offers play a big role in the college decision for admitted students.
But these offers are often confusing and award letters vary wildly, leaving students to make one of their first major life decisions without access to clear information.
“I think anyone who’s worked with students is just like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. What a mess,’ ” Rachel Fishman, a researcher with New America, told NPR. “It’s really the Wild West when it comes to how these letters look.”
The losses of the Great Recession continue to haunt higher education. Despite five years of increases, state funding for higher education has only halfway reached pre-recession levels of funding. And as of 2017, public institutions in more than half of all US states are more reliant on tuition dollars than on public appropriations.
Food insecurity among students is finally getting recognized by the federal government.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that there are at least 2 million students who are at risk of being food insecure and who qualify for SNAP benefits but did not receive them. This number could be significantly higher, but the data available at this time is inconclusive.
This report is the first time the federal government has significantly acknowledged food insecurity on college campuses.
In many homes, filling out the FAFSA is a family affair.
Although students are always encouraged to take the lead when it comes to applying to colleges, they are often required to work in conjunction with their parents or guardians to provide information about their family’s income and other factors when seeking financial aid.
With that in mind, the US Department of Education recently published a blog post with tips to help families navigate the FAFSA process.
College students are paying less for class materials, thanks in part to the success of OpenStax – an organization that provides free textbooks and digital resources.
The nonprofit, started six years ago by Rice University (TX), serves more than 2.2 million students, according to a recent article in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Nearly half of all US colleges currently use the service, which offers 29 free textbooks for college and Advanced Placement classes.
And for the first time in five decades, average textbook costs are decreasing, according to recent data analyzed by the National Center of Education Statistics.
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.