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White House Takes Steps to Help Students, Families Better Select Colleges

White House Takes Steps to Help Students, Families Better Select Higher Education

Much of K-12 education is spent preparing for career readiness and postsecondary education, but many students are largely uninformed about their options when it comes to selecting an institution and applying for financial aid.

For this reason, the White House announced an initiative to provide students with easy-to-use and readily available information regarding the many choices and options that come with selecting a college.

"Research shows that when students have better information, they make better choices about their education. When choosing a college, students need information on college quality to know whether their investment in higher education will pay off. For high-achieving, low-income students, an experiment found that providing information that compares details about college quality, like graduation rates, enabled these students to attend schools that better matched their qualifications," according to a statement from Jason Furman and Sandra Black, two members of the White House's Council of Economic Advisors.

Examples of the Administration's efforts include The College Scorecard, which provides "the first comprehensive data on costs and student outcomes at nearly all post-secondary institutions in the United States," the advisors said.

"For the first time, students and their advisors can search for the earnings of students who attended an institution, along with the most up-to-date information about other measures of a college’s quality, including the percentage of students who graduate or repay their loans."

To analyze the benefits of having this kind of data available, the White House has also produced a new Council of Economic Advisers technical paper which outlines suggestions for using the federal data to evaluate and improve the value of college education moving forward.

Finally, the White House also pledged to make it easier for students to understand and apply for financial aid.

"Beginning in 2016, FAFSA applicants will be able to complete the form on October 1st for the following academic year. The FAFSA will also utilize earlier tax information, enabling more families to use a tool that directly retrieves their tax information and reduces the time needed to fill out the FAFSA from an hour to about 20 minutes. "

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below. We are especially interested in hearing from guidance counselors either in the comment section or through direct emails sent to editor[at]educationworld.com.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/15/2015

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