Today, with the help of its newly formed Rapid Response Policy Team, the National College Access Network (NCAN) submitted several practical policy reforms to the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. As outlined in this letter, these policy recommendations would go a long way to making higher education and financial aid more responsive to the needs of low-income, first generation students.

Among the recommendations included in the letter are:

  • Encouraging the federal government to send targeted messages to students likely to qualify for a Pell Grant, possibly through the free and reduced lunch program communications or other means-tested programs. Knowing that funds are available for college before a student starts high school will allow that student to plan for college, including taking the necessary curriculum in high school.
  • Requesting that the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System include the tracking of part-time and Pell Grant recipients.  This important information, now only a disclosure requirement, would enable low-income students to see the success rates of “students like me” at each institution so they can make the choice to attend an institution that best supports their needs.
  • Applying for federal student aid should involve the use of “prior-prior year tax data.” This would allow students to apply for aid in the fall of their senior year of high school so that they would know how much aid they are eligible for before they decide to which institutions of higher education to apply.

Beyond these recommendations, the letter includes a whole host of other innovative policy suggestions which would streamline financial aid and make the college selection process more transparent and coherent to families and first-generation students.  Read more here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Skip to content