Financial Aid: How it is different and better than before

Post By: COYD Staff

With the economy struggling and the unemployment rate high, it is important that families educate themselves on all the ways they can help pay for college. Luckily, 2010 has been a good year for financial aid. Below are 3 improvements to financial aid for upcoming students:

Shorter and simpler: The 2010-2011 FAFSA contains 22 less questions than the year before, 17 fewer screens.
More user-friendly: It is organized into categories.
Streamlined: After June 2010, parts of your income tax data can be imported directly from the IRS.
More targeted questions: Low-income students will no longer have to go through irrelevant asset questions. Students who are married or over 23 can bypass 11 parent finance questions that don’t apply to them.
– Instant Pell grant estimates and student loan eligibility statements.

2. Fee waiver for out-of-state students through reciprocity agreements
– The average surcharge for out-of-state students at a public, four year institution is $11,528 according to the College Board. Recently, there have been ways to go around this surcharges. These programs are called reciprocity agreements. These agreements give students the opportunity to broaden their college options and save money by applying for reduced tuition sponsored by state associations.

Below are a few of these programs:

Academia Common Market– Southeastern States
Midwestern Higher Education Compact
New England Board of Higher Education
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

3. Federal Pell Grant increase
– In February 2009, the economic stimulus bill included a Pell Grant increase and a expanded tax credit for higher education expenses.
– Maximum Pell Grant for the 2010-2011 year is $5,550 and the new program covers an additional 800,000 students totaling the number of Pell Grants available to about 7 million.


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