On Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell held a town hall meeting to talk with students about college access and affordability. Of particular note, as reported by Politico, Mitchell expressed interest in allowing students and families to use prior-prior year (PPY) income data when submitting the FAFSA. In a report issued last year, NASFAA outlined the benefits of a switch to PPY income, which would better align the application processes for college admissions and financial aid. Other topics discussed at the town hall included President Obama’s recent memorandum on capping monthly student loan debt, the Administration’s proposed college rating system, simplifying the student loan repayment system, ways to refinance student debt, and increased financial literacy.
Following the prepared remarks, a panel of Department of Education student interns was brought to the stage to respond to some questions submitted prior to the event; students in attendance at the event were also afforded the opportunity to ask their own questions to Under Secretary Mitchell. Questions about the recent actions taken against Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest private student loan lender, and the issue of minimal appropriations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were among the more compelling queries.
Following the conclusion of the official town hall meeting, Mitchell stayed briefly to speak to students individually on issues that they or their organizations had concerns about. Some students shared their personal stories with Mitchell, and he exchanged contact information with them in order to expand on their individual issues at a later time.
Publication Date: 6/12/2014