‘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.

Rich student, poor student

“The higher education system is . . . a passive agent in the systematic reproduction of white racial privilege across generations,” concludes a new report. Latino and black students — even those with high grades — are more likely than whites to go to community colleges, where their odds of graduation are lower.

Linking financial aid to graduation rates will penalize colleges that enroll low-income students, two new research papers warn.

No community college, no future

Without a community college, Erie, Pennsylvania keeps losing jobs and laid-off workers can’t afford to retrain. Industry is disinvesting.

Student aid fuels tuition inflation.

Little college aid for job seekers

Federal college aid overwhelmingly goes to students pursuing degrees, while many seeking vocational certificates don’t qualify for aid. Taxpayers should support people who want to learn high-demand job skills — computer techs and nurse’s aides — not people who want to spend four years studying Shakespeare, argues a workforce researcher.

Students who earn credits for competency, not just “seat time,” will be eligible for federal student aid, if their college’s competency-based program is approved by accreditors.

Not broke! Pell will run surplus till 2015

Pell isn’t broke! Changes designed to cut the cost of aid to low- and moderate-income students have turned a projected deficit into a surplus that will last till 2015.

Students must take more credits, use aid for fewer semesters and forego summer courses, unless they pay their own way.

4 more years: What’s ahead for higher ed?

What’s ahead for higher ed in the next four years? President Obama pledged to link federal aid to colleges’ willingness to cut the rate of tuition growth, but was that just campaign rhetoric?

California community colleges will use new tax revenue to add classes and reduce wait lists.