Calculating Financial Aid and funding higher education


April 21, 2017 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. New York’s new program to eliminate tuition for some students in public colleges draws both praise and criticism; 15 colleges announce a new cost calculator that estimates how much financial aid a student will get from a particular college; a new report shows that funding for higher education increased in most states in 2016; President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Education Department budget are criticized; and the Cooke Foundation announces new Undergraduate Transfer Scholars.

Elementary & Secondary Education

  • The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, says President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Education Department budget could destroy public education as we know it by taking away funding for afterschool programs, community centers, and efforts to reduce class sizes and improve teacher quality. She argues in US News and World Report that the budget “eviscerates equity investments that have worked to help vulnerable kids and families, and it diverts $1.3 billion to failed strategies that hurt kids.” 
  • Students applying for admission to college will be able to use a new online calculator launched by 15 colleges to get an estimate of how much financial aid they would receive from each of those schools, the New York Times reports. 
  • New research by the National College Access Network shows that the rate of FAFSA completion is lower in high-poverty areas than in more affluent areas. As a result, many students and families who could benefit the most from federal financial aid for post-secondary education are not doing so.


Higher Education

  • New York’s Excelsior Scholarship – eliminating tuition for some public college students – continues to get praised by some and criticized by others.  Sara Goldrick-Rab calls the scholarship a “mistake” in the Village Voice, saying that requiring students to live in the state after graduation could prevent them from taking good jobs elsewhere. The chancellors of both the SUNY and CUNY systems defend the scholarship in the New York Daily News.
  • A report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association shows that across the nation, state funding for public higher education declined overall in 2016 compared to 2015. But as Inside Higher Ed reports, a massive drop in state appropriations for higher education in Illinois caused much of the decline. In fact, public higher education funding increased in 33 states.
  • A new study from the University of Michigan shows that selective college admissions officers are 26 percent more likely to recommend low-income students for admission when provided detailed contextual information about them and their high school. MarketWatch summarizes the study.  
  • As the Trump administration proposes taking away funds from the federal Pell Grant program, an infographic from the Center for American Progress illustrates who benefits from the grants. A total of 41 percent of all college students receive a Pell Grant and 83 percent of these students come from families making less than $40,000 per year. 


Cooke Foundation Highlights

  •  The Cooke Foundation announced the names of 55 outstanding community college students who have been awarded Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships worth up to $40,000 annually. Other new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have also been notified and received news coverage in their local communities in Suburban Detroit, and Tarrant County, Texas, to name a few.  
  • Executive Director Harold O. Levy writes in a Fox News op-ed about how education is the strongest tool we have to create jobs. Levy outlines concrete ways in which we can improve the K-12 system, especially for students from low-income families, by putting more funding into quality teaching and innovative learning technology. 


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