Financial Aid

Saving Pell

How Congress maintained the $5,550 maximum Pell Grant

The time of unprecedented growth for the federal Pell Grant program couldn’t have come at a worse time for Congress. As lawmakers were looking to cut federal spending to address the growing national deficit, record college enrollments, the economic downturn, and expanded Pell Grant awards and eligibility criteria combined to triple the cost of the program over five years.

Improving Financial Aid Award Letters

What’s probably wrong, and how to make it right

Are the financial aid award letters your institution sends to returning and prospective students clear, correct, complete, and comparable to other institutions’ award letters? The federal government thinks that too many are misleading and difficult to compare.

Overcoming the Top Student Aid Compliance Issues

Communication with departments across campus a key to success

Complying with the growing and increasingly complex Title IV federal student aid regulations is an ongoing challenge for every campus that administers federal student aid. Performing a word count of student aid regulations in 2000 and 2010 reveals a 40 percent increase over that decade. A recent survey of financial aid administrators shows that increasing regulatory and compliance requirements are causing resource shortages in many financial aid offices.

Kinder, Gentler Pell Cuts

Proposals for reducing costs while avoiding across-the-board cuts

Republicans and Democrats agree: The projected cost of the Pell Grant program is unsustainable. Now policymakers are looking at the best ways to reduce costs.

Debating the Delayed DREAM Act

Children of illegal immigrants and citizenship through higher education

A recent, unsuccessful effort by Senate leaders to provide a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally sparked debate over the provision among financial aid administrators. The provision, commonly referred to as the DREAM Act, would allow the children of illegal immigrants to earn citizenship through higher education or military service.

The Burden of Verification

Higher costs for colleges, more barriers for students

Financial aid professionals have asserted for some time that the federal regulation requiring higher education institutions to verify certain information on some students' aid applications creates additional burdens for low-income students and financial aid offices. These assertions were recently confirmed by a report from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) that chronicles the impact of verification on students and financial aid offices at 13 community colleges in California.

The Financial Aid Office's Burden

What this department is up to, and how more resources can help

The recession has certainly forced everyone to do more with less, but financial aid administrators are dealing with a new level of this challenge. As with all campus offices, financial aid office resources and funding are being frozen or cut due to tight campus budgets. In addition, financial aid offices are serving more students and families than ever before and administering record amounts of financial aid.

A Blueprint to Lower Default Rates

Default-aversion and degree-completion strategies

With rising student loan debt, a tough job market for recent graduates, and a tougher default standard higher education institutions will have to meet in 2014, strengthening default prevention efforts is an imperative. Yet it's not always clear what factors determine default rates and how much influence higher ed institutions have in keeping defaults low.

A New Formula for Cohort Default Rates

What aid administrators need to know

The federal government is implementing a new method of assessing student loan default rates that will make it tougher for higher education institutions to remain eligible to receive federal student aid funds.

Preparing for the Net Price Calculator

Avoid potential pitfalls by taking these steps today

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