A coalition of higher education groups last week identified key reforms necessary to ensure the Pell Grant and Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs meet the needs of America’s growing population of low-income, post-traditional, and underrepresented students.
These groups are part of a RADD consortium focused on the reform of federal student aid grants and work-study, similar to NASFAA’s RADD efforts on income-based repayment and simplifying the financial aid process. RADD is a project funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The paper bases its recommendations on the new “traditional” student who is not full-time, aged 18- to 24-year-old, and transitioning directly from high school to a four-year college. Rather, these students are independent, older, more likely to work more than 20 hours per week, and more likely to be parents while completing their undergraduate education. Based on this shift, the consortium brought together multiple stakeholders to determine what policy opportunities for a re-designed student aid system could help all students, and specifically post-traditional students, afford and complete college.
The group tried to develop recommendations that would:
Some major reforms identified include:
NASFAA has put forth recommendations on many of these areas including revisiting the current FWS allocation formula through our Campus-Based Aid Allocation Task Force report, and early-awareness for students and families through our RADD Round III consortium with the National College Access Network and the Education Trust to simplify the financial aid process and increase access and success. NASFAA’S most recent report, “Great Expectations: Implications of Implementing Prior-prior Year Income Data for the FAFSA,” proposes reforms that allow for FAFSA completion as early as September 1 of a student’s senior year in high school. Additional reports from this consortium will be released throughout the summer and fall of 2015, and NASFAA will continue to share them with members as they are made available.
Publication Date: 6/2/2015