Interesting Reads This Week

What is old is new again and the problems of change and innovation

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FAFSA changes, what FAFSA changes?

Just over a third of students currently enrolled either aren’t worried about delays, errors, and changes in the new FAFSA or don’t fill it out. This from a survey of students currently enrolled in higher education by Inside Higher Ed and The Generation Lab. That does leave about 44% who are either very concerned or somewhat concerned, and this tends to be much higher among students who do receive federal financial aid.

The impact of FAFSA delays and changes on currently enrolled and non-traditional students is an issue that I think is under explored, and which I think is going potentially to have a big (and bad) impact on enrollment. It is not just the delays in making a working FAFSA available that will affect current students. Many will also be affected by changes to the formulas for determining student aid if they have siblings also in college or if their parents own a small business or farm.

The lack of awareness of changes to current students is troubling. So many students are, as a former President of Maricopa County Community Colleges once put it, a flat tire away from dropping out. Problems with FAFSA are the sorts of thing that could really tip a lot of the most vulnerable students over the edge.

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