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Making College More Affordable for More Americans & Improving College Choice

U.S. Dept. of Education – Staff Writer

“The President’s blueprint unveiled last September aims to make it easier to get federal student aid by streamlining the process of submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)….Filling out the FAFSA—at no cost—opens the door for students to receive potentially thousands of dollars in federal aid. Yet each year, about two million Pell-eligible students do not fill out the FAFSA—and millions more may have enrolled in college had they known that aid were available. To further streamline and simplify the FAFSA, the President announced a plan that will allow students and families to apply for financial aid earlier—starting in October, as the college application process gets underway—rather than in January…Learning about financial aid eligibility earlier in the college application and decision process will enable students and families to determine the true cost of attending college—taking available financial aid into account—and make more informed decisions as they are searching for, applying to, and choosing colleges.”(more)

A College Education Costs Even More Than You Thought It Did

NPR Ed – Byrd Pinkerton

“We all know that American college education isn’t cheap. But it turns out that it’s even less cheap if you look at the numbers more closely. That’s what the Wisconsin HOPE Lab did. The lab, part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted four studies to figure out the true price of college. To get a sense of student realities, researchers interviewed students on college campuses across the state of Wisconsin. But they also examined 6,604 colleges nationally and compared their costs with regional cost-of-living data from the government. The researchers found that college life is more expensive than sticker prices might suggest, and that financial aid doesn’t help students as effectively as it could, especially after the first year.”(more)

Financial Aid 101: Earlier FAFSA Provides More Time To Line Up Tuition

NPR – Anjuli Sastry

“High school students nationwide are filling out college financial aid forms — and it’s not just seniors this year. Some changes are on the horizon to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. For one, the form can be submitted much earlier. One student capitalizing on the early deadline is Isaac Horwitz-Hirsch, a junior at Santa Monica High School. But Horwitz-Hirsch and his parents, Joshua Hirsch and Ruth Horwitz have found that the new changes to the FAFSA are hard to understand. “The financial aid part is really confusing,” Horwitz-Hirsch says. The family earns a middle class income and they made certain financial decisions before they knew about the new, earlier FAFSA deadline.”(more)

5 Ways Parents Hurt Their Kids’ Chances For A Scholarship

The Huffington Post – Ann Brenoff

“With college applications submitted and decisions trickling in, most parents are now focused on the scholarship phase — how to actually pay for things. A H/T to Tyler Hakes, marketing director of CollegeRaptor, for these tips on what some parents may be doing wrong.”(more)

3 Types of FAFSA Deadlines You Should Pay Attention To

Ed.gov – Drew Goins

“Ah, deadlines. The sworn enemy of students across the nation. When you’re busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and a social life in whatever time you’ve got left, it’s easy to lose track and let due dates start whooshing by. All of a sudden, your U.S. history paper is due at midnight, and you still don’t know Madison from a minuteman. We get it. Nevertheless, we’re here to point out a few critical deadlines that you really shouldn’t miss: those to do with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). By submitting your FAFSA late, you might be forfeiting big money that can help you pay for college. Luckily for you, you’ve got just three types of deadlines to stay on top of. Now if only your Founding Father flashcards were that simple. Here are those three deadlines:”(more)

The Obama Administration Proposes $2 Billion More In College Aid

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“President Obama has increased college aid by over $50 billion since coming into office. And he’s trying to do more. Acting Education Secretary John King announced two new proposals today that would expand the Pell Grant program, the biggest pot of federal money for students with financial need…Both of these ideas are examples of a current trend in higher education: financial aid used as a carrot to encourage students to complete their degrees.”(more)