Text ‘nudges’ boost persistence

Text-message reminders about applying for financial aid boosted second-year enrollment rates for community college students at a cost of $5 per student.

Advising doubles college grad rate

Providing structure, counseling and financial aid more doubled the graduation rate for New York City community college students.

How to make state colleges tuition free

All public colleges and universities could be tuition free, if the feds redirected the $69 billion spent on a “hodgepodge of financial aid programs.”

Solving “undermatching“– getting more low-income achievers to apply to elite colleges — is getting lots of attention. But it won’t help most disadvantaged students. 

Not really full time

Taking 12 units a semester is “full time” for financial aid purposes, even though students need to take — and pass — 15 units per semester to graduate on time. Only 29 percent of community college students and 50 percent of four-year college students are taking enough courses to graduate on time.  “Enrollment intensity” correlates closely with completion.

Advising Corps raises college aspirations

The National College Advising Corps sends recent college graduates to high schools to help low-income students understand their postsecondary options, get waivers for admissions test fees, write essays and apply for financial aid.

Obama college plan needs reality check

President Obama’s plan to link financial aid to college “value” will penalize lower-income students for attending colleges with low graduation rates and low earnings for graduates, argue two analysts, who call for a “reality check.”

Comparing college graduation rates is meaningless, unless students’ academic ability and other characteristics are taken into account.

Obama vows college cost controls

President Obama vowed to “shake up” higher education and “tackle rising costs,” in a speech on the economy that stressed college affordability for middle-class families.

A bipartisan student loan bill that will lower interest rates – at least for now — has passed the Senate and is expected to become law. The compromise ties interest rates to the government’s cost of borrowing.

Parents are spending less of their income on their children’s college costs and relying more on grants, scholarships, financial aid — and frugality — Sallie Mae reports.

Getting poor kids to good colleges — for $6 per student

Informing low-income, high-achieving students about college options and financial aid is a very cost-effective way to encourage more low-income students to attend top colleges, where they’re more likely to earn a degree, make valuable connections and move up the social and economic ladder. An information program cost $6 per student, financial aid assistance cost $100 per additional student enrolled and increasing Stafford loans costs $20,000 per additional student, estimates Brookings researchers.

Underemployed grads regret their choices

Most college graduates are underemployed and wish they’d made other choices, conclude two different surveys of young Americans. Not surprisingly, young people who majored in health and STEM fields are doing the best, while liberal arts majors are the most likely to be working in retail and restaurant jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Students who are the first in their families to go to college need help to untangle an increasingly complex financial aid system.

Redesigning college aid — without spending more

A “more understandable effective and fair” student aid system doesn’t need to cost taxpayers more money, concludes a new report that calls for shifting funding and incentives to help needy students and encourage speedy completion of degrees.

Federal grants to college students should be replaced with grants to states, which would have to match the money, recommends another report.