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Improving the Financial Aid System to Increase College Completion

Key Ideas from a Stakeholder Discussion at the 2013 Building a Grad Nation Summit – May 2013: “For a variety of reasons, students and families find it difficult to be smart consumers when it comes to choosing a college that provides a quality education at a reasonable cost. Many students end up saddled with enormous college debt. Others who avoid student loan burdens run out of resources before they can earn a degree. Still others from lower income backgrounds don’t apply to elite schools because they are unaware of financial aid packages that could make these colleges affordable, and some find the system so intimidating that they needlessly miss opportunities to attend any four-year college at all despite their academic qualifications. As the executive director of one nonprofit focused on helping more of America’s young people gain post-secondary education lamented, “We are crushing our students’ hopes and dreams with the current financial aid system.”

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