Choose your education story

Course choice lets students learn from providers that might range from universities or community colleges to local employers, labs or hospitals. In Expanding the Education Universe, Fordham’s Michael Brickman looks at the policy questions, including student eligibility, course providers, funding, quality control, and accountability.

Course choice is coming to higher education too as new accrediting groups consider quality reviews of online courses. The proposed HERO Act would extend federal aid to students who choose postsecondary courses from a variety of providers.

Making college affordable

Are there better ways to pay for higher education? One proposal would guarantee every high school graduate two free years at a public college or university.

Colleges fail older, part-time students

Recent high school graduates enrolled full-time at residential colleges make up only 15 percent of college students.  Colleges are failing their older, working, part-time students who make up the “new majority.”

Community college leaders worry that President Obama’s college ratings system will penalize open-access schools. Part-time students, who make up the majority at community colleges, aren’t tracked by the federal data system. Some students — nobody knows how many — say they’re seeking a degree to qualify for federal aid when they’re really trying to learn a job skill.

Should college aid be linked to readiness?

Pell Grants help low- and moderate-income students go to college, but graduation rates are low. Should Pell dollars be targeted at college-ready students? That would lower the college-going rate significantly.

A new private scholarship fund will help “dreamers” — undocumented immigrants brought here as children — attend low-cost colleges to pursue work-oriented degrees.

Student aid reforms proposed

A House education subcommittee heard proposals for reforming Pell Grants.

Income-based repayment gives the largest subsidies to borrowers who go to graduate or professional school and people in “public service” jobs. One in four jobs qualifies as “public service,” but working for a for-profit company is a disqualifier.

‘Sooner, simpler, smarter’ college aid

College aid should be “sooner, simpler and smarter,” advocates say.

Disadvantaged students need more and better information on colleges, degrees and financial aid.

From competency to credentials

Awarding credentials for competency — not just seat time — is helping workers move up career ladders. But there are concerns about the quality of competency-based programs and whether students should qualify for financial aid.

Also see: After college, what?

‘Paycheck’ aid shows promise

Disbursing student aid in smaller amounts every two weeks, “Aid Like a Paycheck,” encourages low-income college students to work harder in school and manage money better, a new study shows.

At a Hamilton Project forum today, participants presented new ideas for redesigning Pell Grants, income-based loan repayment and college cost calculators. 

Obama plan worries community colleges

President Obama’s plan to link federal aid to colleges’ graduation rates and graduates’ earnings “falls somewhere between “irrelevant” and “catastrophic” for community colleges.

Private colleges that educate many teachers and social workers also are concerned.

Additional need-based student aid helped low-income Florida students stay in school and earn a degree, a new study finds.

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.