What We Think of the New FAFSA4caster

April 2, 2007

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Education released the FAFSA4caster, an online tool intended to help families plan for college by providing early estimates of their federal financial aid eligibility. To get an early aid estimate, students and their parents have to answer 96 questions from the actual FAFSA.


Simplifying the FAFSA for everyone

February 20, 2007

The most inefficient and intimidating part of the financial aid process is requiring students and families to transcribe, calculate, and submit piles of income information that the government already has. An article in today's Inside Higher Ed describes how researchers are conducting an experiment with H&R Block that pre-fills the FAFSA with selected clients' tax data.


2004-05 economic diversity data available

October 18, 2006

The entire Economic Diversity of Colleges web site has been updated with the best available information for the 2004-05 school year. Institutional profiles reflect the new information with fresh charts and graphs, and the new data has been added to the comparison tool as well as the institutional data pages. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions about this update...


More debt data now available

August 28, 2006

The Economic Diversity web site now includes the average student loan debt for the 2005 graduating class as reported by 1,421 four-year institutions. Also included is the proportion of graduates with any student loans. The site provides access to these data (as well as comparable figures for 2000 and 2004) through an agreement with college guide publisher Thomson Peterson's....


Private loan interest rates average about 10% today

August 8, 2006

Companies offering private student loans advertise low rates, but the rates they actually charge to individual borrowers, and how they determine those rates, are closely-held trade secrets. The rates are based on borrower credit scores and other factors; ultimately, companies maximize their returns by trying to charge the highest rate they can while still getting the business.


Towards a simpler FAFSA

August 2, 2006

One well-documented obstacle to economic diversity is the financial aid application process itself: the FAFSA is incredibly long, confusing and intimidating. When low-income students don't apply for financial aid, they miss out on resources that could increase their chances of success in college by allowing them to go to school full time, work reasonable hours, and attend more...