Tag Archives: student financial aid

Should Community College Be Free?

The President thinks tuition at community colleges should be free for all eligible students. His plan is expensive and controversial, but it shines a much needed spotlight on community colleges.

Here is  my video explaining why community colleges are so valuable to folks who think they can’t afford the high price of going to college. Please watch and then read more about the President’s plan.

The President’s plan aims to help make public community colleges more affordable to high school graduates so that they can ultimately get better paying jobs. Some students may start work after getting their AA degree, some may move on to 4-year colleges, and some may earn occupational certificates for specific lines of work.

Most education writers opine that this proposal has little chance of passing in the current political climate. But most everyone sees the need to raise the overall education level of the U.S. workforce.

So whether it’s this idea or another, we need to get cracking!

Here’s how the President’s plan lays out:

First and foremost, the feds will contribute three-forths of a student’s tuition. The State will contribute the other one-forth. States can decide whether to opt in or out of the plan.

The federal money would comprise what is known as the “first dollars” of the tuition contribution. This is important because other scholarships and grants can then be used for non-tuition educational expenses.

States that agree to opt in must bring their community colleges up to four-year college standards. Credits earned in a state’s two-year college should be seamlessly transferable to that state’s four-year universities.

Community colleges that have occupational certificate programs must offer courses for in-demand jobs and show good graduation rates.

Students must maintain a C+ average and attend at least half time. They need to show steady progress toward a degree or certificate.

I personally like the plan’s aim to expand community college capacity nationwide. With that goal accomplished, the for-profit colleges that so ill-serve American students will be banished to the dustbin of higher education history.

So, keep your eye on this proposal and others that will be sparked by the controversy surrounding it. College students and their families need a break!

President proposes free community colleges.
Maybe someday we will have free tuition for all students at community colleges.

The Federal Work-Study Program Gets Studied!

Brush up on the topic of Federal Work-Study programs by watching my video. Then please read my blog entry to get the latest info!

 

The Federal Work-Study program has been a feature at a large number of colleges for many years. But lately a report done by the student advocacy group called “Young Invincibles” and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has called for reforming the system.

The report is titled “A Federal Work-Study Reform Agenda to Better Serve Low-Income Students”. Here is the link to the PDF:  http://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Federal-Work-Study-Reform-Agenda-Sept-181.pdf

The report says that too much of the federal work-study money goes to large private colleges that have been in the system the longest. For-profit colleges get a hefty amount based on their numerous Pell Grant students. Newer community colleges get the least money, even though they also enroll low-income students.

The report studied how this large pot of Federal money (more than $1 billion) could be better used.
It recommended that the Federal Work Study program should reward schools that enroll low-income students, graduate them at high rates, and make sure they have the skills to get good jobs.

Read between the lines and you’ll find that the notorious for-profit colleges get righteously excluded from work-study funds, even though they “serve” more needy students than anyone else!

The Young Invincibles report also emphasizes the need for work-study jobs to better relate to a student’s field of study. If these reform recommendations were implemented, many of the jobs traditionally grabbed by students who want to work AND study at the exact same time, would disappear. No more manning desks in dorm lobbies or library entrances. Instead, work-study jobs might look more like paid internships where students get real-life career experience.

I can’t see a downside to this. Let me know what you think.

Work, Study and Earn!
Federal Work-Study Programs Are Financial Aid You Earn!

The CSS Profile Lives…Again!

Born just last week, the ever-charming CSS Profile for 2015-16 is online now!

Most colleges are satisfied with the financial information they get from the FAFSA form, which is not available until January 1st of each year. But over 250 colleges and universities, the ones with big endowments, are looking for the best students they can get and they will use their funds to make it possible (or desirable) for those students to attend their institutions. The College Board administrates the CSS Profile financial aid questionaire on behalf of these schools and has a list of them at their website, https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile . So whether you are applying for the first time to one of the colleges that require this form, or whether you are applying for the next school year of college financial aid, this is the time to start getting familiar with this complex form. Current high school seniors will need to start now to fill out the CSS Profile if they are going for any kind of Early Decision or Early Action. Others may have until April 15th of next year.
It’s important to understand that while the FAFSA form asks the same questions of every applicant, the CSS Profile is customizable by each participating college. Each is able to ask different specific questions to elicit the kind of detail their financial aid administrators need to dispense aid in the best way for their institution’s enrollment goals. The College Board charges a fee for each CSS Profile application, while the Federal government’s FAFSA form is free. Watch my video about the CSS Profile to get in the right mindset for this invasive, yet potentially valuable financial exercise.