Feb 28, 2008
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Thursday, February 28 , 2008
Legislation Could Simplify Financial Aid Application Process
By Carina Zaragoza Print this Page
Legislation Could Simplify Financial Aid Application Process
In a bipartisan effort, both Democrats and Republicans are calling for a simplification of the financial aid application process. Both parties last month voted in approval of a bill that would allow applicants to simply check a box on their tax returns. Certain information required for financial aid would then be directly sent to the Department of Education. This information would automatically answer questions found on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The proposed legislation is so popular it is anticipated that the bill will be made into law later this year. Recent studies and reports are in part responsible for the move to simplify the financial aid application process. One such study was conducted by Susan Dynarski and Judith E. Scott-Clayton, economists at Harvard University. The study, Complexity and Targeting in Federal Student Aid: A Quantitative Analysis, finds that it takes 10 hours for families to complete the FAFSA. Having to use previous years' tax returns initially and then revising the application with the current year's tax return is part of the reason it takes so long.

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Higher Education and the Economic Mobility Gap

By Carina Zaragoza

A study released Tuesday, February 19, examines the correlation between earning a college degree and economic mobility. Among the findings: economic mobility has not changed significantly for children of poor or middle-class backgrounds. The researchers concluded that this could lead to a severe decline in opportunities for poor and even middle-class families in the future.

The study, Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America, was compiled by scholars of the Brookings Institute in collaboration with the Pew Charitable Trusts. The study represents a comprehensive attempt to observe and track economic mobility between generations. The survey followed families from the 1960s. The study concluded that a college degree is essential to economic mobility, but background plays a large role.

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Indian Health Bill to Include Community College Grant

The Indian Health Improvement Act (S. 1200), currently being deliberated on the Senate floor, includes a provision that will create a grant program for community colleges. Grants of up to $250,000 will be authorized by the bill. The grants are meant to establish health professions education programs within the community college system that will lead to degrees. In the past community colleges received some assistance from the Indian Health Improvement Act, but passage of the bill will likely secure funds on a regular basis.
Congress Urged to Take Student Loan Action

Congress has been approached by lobbyists for lenders and colleges calling for action to stifle the downward trend of the student loan industry. Lenders and colleges claim the credit crunch may very well heavily impact the availability of loans. Students seeking loans in the fall may find no funds available. Lobbyists cited the recent failure of auctions, a key source of student loan funding, as a major roadblock to the ability to offer new loans in the fall.

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