Currently, college applicants must wait to apply for federal financial aid until the second semester of their senior year in high school. That’s because the application requires income data from the prior calendar year. The result is that millions of college applicants don’t know how much they will have to pay until just before they have to make their decision about which school to attend.
But what if students could apply for financial aid in the beginning of their senior year — using their family’s tax information from one calendar year earlier? This would allow applicants — particularly those who plan to attend a public college or university — to learn much more about their financial-aid packages far sooner than they currently do.
The proposed change has peppered legislation throughout the Capitol, as members of Congress prepare a slew of higher-education bills. And lawmakers think it could make a big difference in encouraging low-income students to attend college.
Right now, January is the earliest that students can fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid — and that’s assuming their parents have filed their taxes early for the year just ended. Often, families file later. This means that some students don’t receive their financial-aid packages until just a few weeks before the enrollment deadlines for most colleges. That’s too late for many students, says Megan McClean, director of policy and federal relations for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “A lot of times, our low-income students are first-generation, and they’re the first ones to go to college,” she says. “It’s better to have more time for the process.”
(J Heroun)Filing the FAFSA in the fall would allow applicants to know, before they even apply to college, how much federal aid they are likely to receive. And since most public colleges rely on the FAFSA to determine their aid packages, students could learn of their potential state and school grants at the same time.
For the poorest students, that knowledge could mean the difference between going to college and not. If low-income students know before applying that they have $5,000 available in federal grant money, they might see postsecondary schooling as a viable option. “By junior year [of high school], they can tell you exactly what you can get,” says Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a cosponsor of one of the bills that would change the income question on the FAFSA to the “prior prior year” — that is, the tax year two years before the student enters college.
This idea has bipartisan support. It is part of another, broader bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which will consider all financial-aid proposals in the Senate. House Republicans also included the proposal in legislation designed to make the entire financial-aid application process less daunting.
Last year, McClean’s group conducted an in-depth review of 160,000 FAFSA applications. It found that about 70 percent of grantees would see no change in their awards if they used the “prior prior” year’s income on their applications. About 20 percent of grantees would see a change of more than $1,000, up or down, in their federal grants. Everyone else would see smaller changes.
All told, the researchers said that 3 million grantees could see their federal financial aid affected if the tax year is pushed back. That must be taken into consideration, McClean acknowledges. But she notes that financial-aid administrators could change awards on a case-by-case basis if, for example, an applicant’s parent loses his or her job between the two tax years.
And for everyone else? Figuring out how to pay for college — an incredibly stressful and daunting process for many low-income students — could end up being easier.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”