What to Expect When Paying for College in 2022

"The cost of college has long put a strain on many families, and the coronavirus pandemic's financial impact has heightened stress levels over the last two years. The federal government allocated several emergency funding streams to colleges to assist students affected by COVID-19, including the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. But much of that funding, first disbursed in 2020, has been spent," according to U.S. News & World Report

"'Any funding that's left is likely going to be targeted funding to specific sets of students who might be experiencing disruptions or economic hardships,' says Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a membership organization for student financial assistance professionals. 'But institutions have full discretion on how they utilize those funds.'"


Federal Pell Grants

"President Joe Biden recently signed Congress' 2022 fiscal year spending bill, which includes a $400 increase to the maximum federal Pell Grant award, bringing it up to $6,895 for the 2022-2023 award year.

'Every time the maximum Pell Grant is increased, it expands the income thresholds that qualify for it, so it's not a meaningless increase,' Draeger says. 'It'll have a large and widespread impact. We were hoping for more, but even with this increase more people should qualify for it. And those who qualify for it will qualify for a little more next year.'"


Tuition Costs

"The cost of tuition ultimately depends on each school and often is affected by factors such as enrollment numbers and state budgets.

'Different states and their appropriations for higher education were impacted differently by the pandemic,' Draeger says. 'Some states have healthier budgets that can support higher education at a higher amount than other states. There's also some pretty severe enrollment declines at specific types of institutions that will impact institutional budgets. Whether that will impact them this year or the following year, we are just not sure yet.'"


Student Loan Payment Pause

"Experts predict another extension, as the Biden administration recently told student loan servicers to hold off on sending notifications to borrowers about restarting payments in May.

'If you're taking out a loan, I wouldn't go into it expecting widespread forgiveness,' Draeger says.  '(T)his idea of just wiping away all debt or a big portion of the debt is far from decided in Washington, D.C.'"


Looking Ahead: FAFSA Simplification Act

"The FAFSA Simplification Act – an overhaul to federal student financial aid that will change how aid is determined and streamline the application process – was expected to be implemented during the 2023-2024 award year. That has been delayed by a year, though a phased implementation approach is already underway. Questions on the FAFSA about drug convictions and Selective Service registration no longer affect eligibility, for instance.

'In future years, we will see the FAFSA even further simplified and hopefully tied more closely to the IRS so that when people are completing their taxes, they'll have a good idea breakdown of how much federal grant aid they will qualify for,' Draeger says."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 3/22/2022

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