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ERIC Number: ED544242
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 80
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion
Reimherr, Patrick; Harmon, Tim; Strawn, Julie; Choitz, Vickie
Center for Law and Social Policy, Inc. (CLASP)
Any reform of federal student aid must address the twin challenges of college affordability and completion, which are inextricably linked. Here, CLASP has proposed ways to redirect existing federal student aid spending toward the low- and modest income families who need it most. These are the students for whom federal aid makes a difference in whether they can enroll in college at all, and whether, once there, they can make school their primary focus, rather than having to work so many hours that completion becomes a receding, perhaps impossible, goal. Better information is also critical so that students and parents can make the best decisions possible bout how to use financial aid. Reform should engage colleges and students to collaborate with the federal government on improving outcomes. While there are political and fiscal challenges to reform, some solutions are clear. Federal tax-based student aid is too complex and provides a windfall to many upper-income households whose college decisions do not depend on a federal deduction or credit. The revenue and income distribution estimates presented in this paper show that it is possible to simplify and better target this tax-based student aid to price-sensitive families and within a budget-neutral framework. Depending on the specific reform options chosen, it is even possible to greatly improve tax-based student aid and still save enough revenue to help stabilize funding for the Pell Grant program and fund innovation. Additional reforms, such as "real-time payment" of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and including college tax credits in the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and other outreach efforts, would ensure that tax-based student aid is visible and accessible to families at the time they decide about college and pay college bills, not months later. "Revenue Estimates for CLASP Tax-Based Student Aid Options and Proposals" is provided in the appendix. (Contains 6 tables, 13 figures, 2 boxes, 37 footnotes, and a list of 106 sources.)
Center for Law and Social Policy. 1015 15th Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-906-8000; Fax: 202-842-2885; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act 1965; Higher Education Act Title IV; Pell Grant Program