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Financial Aid for College May Become Easier to Receive

Anyone who has applied for federal financial aid knows gathering information and filling out forms is a complicated process. One estimate in 2004 suggested that 1.5 million college students who were eligible for financial aid did not even apply for it. Countless others don’t go to college, believing they cannot afford it.
Federal financial aid has helped millions of Americans attend college in the past 50 years. But Michael McPherson, co-chairman of the study group and president of the Spencer Foundation, which aims to improve education through research and training, said the system was designed for the 20th century and needs to be updated.
“We need to get the message to low- and middle-income people that they are going to be able to afford to go to college,” he said. “We need a student-aid system that is simple and clear and puts the money into the hands of the people that need it.”
THE PROJECT: · The study group, whose sponsors also include the College Board and the Lumina Foundation for Education, was comprised of 22 higher education leaders, economic researchers and public policy experts who worked for two years devising recommendations. It presented its findings Thursday in a national conference call and Web-based seminar.
THE RECOMMENDATIONS: · Eliminate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, replacing it with a system that would require the Internal Revenue Service to share data with the Department of Education as it determined who should be eligible for Pell Grant funds. Allow the federal education department to share that eligibility data with states, schools and other organizations that also offer need-based aid.
Also, make the Pell Grant the sole grant mechanism for needy students. Tie annual increases in the Pell Grant’s maximum award to the Consumer Price Index.

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September 22, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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