TICAS Tackles Student Aid Reform; Other National and CA Developments

New White Paper Recommends Big Changes to Pell Grants, Student Loans, Tax Benefits
New College Scorecard: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Pay As You Earn Available for Eligible Borrowers
In California: Exciting Movement on Cal Grants

New White Paper Recommends Big Changes to Pell Grants, Student Loans, Tax Benefits

In Aligning the Means and the Ends: How to Improve Federal Student Aid and Increase College Access and Success, we call for major changes to the way federal student aid is applied for, allocated, delivered, and communicated. The white paper includes more than two dozen specific recommendations for ensuring college access and supporting student success, including new approaches to Pell Grants, student loans, and tax benefits. Released earlier this month, it was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, CBS Moneywatch, and the Los Angeles Times.

See the press release, executive summary, and white paper

New College Scorecard: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The White House recently released College Scorecards for individual colleges to help students and families better understand their options. The Scorecard highlights key information about a college's costs and outcomes in a clear and comparable format. It's much improved from earlier drafts and has the potential to be a game changer, but first the confusing and misleading treatment of several data elements must be fixed. In a widely covered blog post, we note the progress, explain some of the problems, and suggest simple, practical solutions.

Read our blog post
View the College Scorecard

Pay As You Earn Available for Eligible Borrowers

Since December 21, 2012, recent college graduates with federal student loans can apply to lower their monthly payments using the Pay As You Earn plan. This new repayment plan has a lower monthly payment cap than the more widely available Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan. It also provides forgiveness after 20 years of payments, rather than 25 years in IBR.

Pay As You Earn can help recent students entering the job market for the first time in a tough economy. Only those who took out their first federal loan after September 30, 2007 and had at least one disbursement after September 30, 2011 qualify. Thanks to a new and much-improved application process, borrowers can easily apply online, electronically transfer their own tax information into the form, and even ask to be enrolled in whichever income-based plan they qualify for that has the lowest monthly payment. To learn more:

See our blog post and updated FAQ
Read the Department of Education's press release and visit Studentaid.gov

In California: Exciting Movement on Cal Grants

After consecutive years of budget proposals to cut California's student grant program, several state legislators are now looking at how to expand and improve the program to better serve California's low-income college students. Already this year, as many as half a dozen bills have been introduced that would expand access to Cal Grants or help Cal Grants better serve current recipients. We'll be monitoring these bills throughout the legislative session and working to ensure that state grant dollars best help low-income students get to college and earn quality credentials.