States link financial aid to academic progress

Every year states hand out $11 billion in college aid — usually without tracking whether students earn a degree. That’s changing. Some states are linking financial aid to students’ academic progress.

To really improve college access and success, double or triple the average Pell Grant, recommends financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz.

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  1. The federal government should get out of the loan business completely; its involvement distorts the market and college costs. Loans should be limited to (1) those students whose SAT/ACT scores indicate real college-level work and (2) those students in majors likely to have college-grad-level employment after graduation. Students who want to major in art history, anthropology, XYZ Studies etc. shouldn’t be doing it on the taxpayers’ dime. Also, the push to get “all” students diplomas, however little knowledge and skill they have acquired, will inevitably result in the devaluation of the college degree, just as it has at the HS level.