Scott-Clayton to NY Times: "Rug Pulled Out" From Financial Aid Seekers | Teachers College Columbia University

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Scott-Clayton to NY Times: “Rug Pulled Out” From Financial Aid Seekers

Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Judith Scott-Clayton, associate professor of economics and education and senior research associate at TC’s Community College Research Center, decries a recent move by the federal government to disable an online tool that allows applicants to quickly transfer their tax return data to the online standardized application form for college financial aid, eliminating time-consuming steps in the application process.

Columnist Ron Lieber writes that elimination of this tool could mean that “lower-income students suffer disproportionately, and may give up or not bother trying — because of a lack of support, endurance or knowledge of the system, or all three, researchers have found.”

Lieber quotes Scott-Clayton:  “Just at the moment when everything seemed like it was going in the right direction, the rug gets pulled out, and in the middle of the application season. Why? Why?”

Scott-Clayton has long advocated for streamlining the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, suggesting, for example, that the application form be reduced to the size of a postcard. Lieber writes that she also favors a policy “to send notice of financial aid eligibility, based on income tax data, to a family in a student’s early high school years — in the same way that Social Security lets you know what size check you might get at retirement age. That could offer encouragement to people who might otherwise assume that college is financially out of reach, simply because they don’t know how the system works.”

“There is no reason not to do this, other than the fact that doing anything seems really hard in this political context,” Lieber quotes Scott-Clayton as saying.

To read the entire article, go here.  

Published Monday, Mar 20, 2017