Financial Aid Policy Reform

January 7, 2013

I’m delighted to introduce today’s guest blogger, Jillian Klein, Senior Policy Analyst for Capella University. She will be sharing her thoughts from time to time on higher education and financial aid policy:

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHE) released a white paper today that suggests recommendations for changes to financial aid policy. The 13 ideas presented in the paper focus on access, outcomes, and repayment options for borrowers; while not every recommendation may be practical or feasible, many of the recommendations presented could provide a strong base for substantive, productive change in financial aid policy.

For example, the suggestion that Income Based Repayment be the default repayment plan in all instances intuitively makes sense as a compromise between our current system and the proposed Petri bill, and could benefit both taxpayers and borrowers. IHE’s white paper also proposes tying payment to outcomes, both at the student and institution level. Schools should be held accountable for student success in a way that makes sense based on their student profile, and tying funding to this success is a way to help safeguard taxpayer dollars put towards education. The challenge lies in gathering, disaggregating and then using data to make necessary policy changes; until we have a robust national system of higher education outcomes data, this work is hard to do.

Capella University recently released our own white paper on the student loan indebtedness issue where we presented our financial aid policy recommendations. Some of our recommendations were similar to those in the IHE piece, others were very different. But a great first step towards policy reform is starting the conversation so we are thrilled that that work is happening!

Jillian Klein, Sr. Policy Analyst – Title IV

Jillian Klein, Sr. Policy Analyst – Title IV


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