Policymakers can make so many improvements that can improve and streamline the current financial aid process. However, some options are available right now. Students have to make decisions only when they are properly informed, especially when referring to what college to go to. Improving the process is not difficult but it can be done. Kevin Rolle highlights some options that are available even now.
A huge barrier that stops reaching success is that students with college aspirations do not actually enroll in college as they finish high school. This is mainly because of various misconceptions about higher education price. It is easy to be discouraged if you think that you cannot afford college but it is possible that the truth is exactly the opposite.
A great way to help is to make students aware of the financial options that are available for them, as soon as possible. There are different federal means-tested benefit programs that can be utilized. Reaching out to families is exactly what is necessary. However, in order to do this, a really large number of families have to be reached in a short time frame. Using as many programs as possible to notify the families is definitely important.
Another reason why there are colleges that bypass application is FAFSA application timing. Students do often apply before they know exactly what federal aid they can receive. When you apply for aid and you then submit the college application, the process is much better.
Students need to be informed that they can file federal financial aid applications sooner. This can be done starting October 1, not January, as many believe. The aid offers are seen much sooner so the aspiring student can figure out what he/she can actually apply to. Further IRS cooperation can make data-sharing better while simplification is even higher.
The last thing that can be done is to use information available on recipient graduation rates for Pell Grant in order to improve the choice of the college. Pell recipient graduation rates lack of information will hurt students that make decisions. It also hurts the policymakers that are in charge of increasing the effectiveness of the program.
There is a graduation gap between Pell grant recipients and those that did not receive the grant. This gap is 5.7%, while the national level shows 14%. This is not important for students but policymakers have to devise solutions that can address such disparities. The schools that have a low graduation rate gape and a really high overall graduation rate have to be incentivized. They should take in more students with low-income. Schools that have lower gaps and a lower graduation rate have to be motivated to improve.
The successful college experience is something aspiring students want but this is only possible through hard work and by taking different steps. Lower-income students do need to deal with extra barriers since they need to figure out how college payments will be done. The steps above can easily help students with low income to actually understand that college really is an option. Financial aid can be easily pursued.