The Frank Roundup: Congress, High School, and College – Oh My!

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It’s been quite a week when it comes to news around financial aid. Congress has been accused of doing little to help public service employees in repayment (despite their promises), and a look at how college got so expensive in the first place.

If you want to learn more about the complicated world of student loan repayment, keep on reading. 

So, How DID college get so expensive?

Did you know there was a time when most people that went to a public college were able to get their bachelor’s degree for free? Of course, this was back when going to college wasn’t a necessity and you could get by with your high school diploma. Still, can you imagine a world where free education in the U.S. was the norm?

If you’d like to read the history of how it happened and learn more about why the government stopped supporting free education, check out Caitlin Zaloom’s new book, Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost. Or give her interview with The Atlantic a quick read

Congress makes forgiveness more complicated than ever

In 2018, Congress created an expansion to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program in an effort to help public servants get the loan forgiveness they expected years ago. These borrowers thought their loans would be forgiven after ten to twenty years of payments, only to find out that they wouldn’t receive that forgiveness. Mostly thanks to technicalities like being in the wrong repayment plan or poor communication from the government in general. 

The expansion called Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF), set aside $700 million to help these public service employees. However, it turns out this process was plagued with even more problems, rejecting people for similar technicalities. Which resulted in only $27 million being spent and only 661 requests being approved out of over 54k applications. 

Read all about the chaos, and how the government is apparently going to fix it, at NPR.

High Schools add FAFSA® as a graduation requirement

Unfortunately, not all high school students have the resources or guidance to know exactly what the FAFSA® is and how it will help them. In 2018, it was estimated that students missed out on over 2.6 billion in Pell Grants just by not submitting a FAFSA® application. That’s billions of free money for college going unclaimed every year. 

With the rising cost of education and the mountain of student loan debt, it’s about time that high schools do something to educate their student body on the importance of the FAFSA®. It appears that some are finally stepping up. 

In Texas, Illinois, and Louisiana, laws have recently been passed that require seniors to complete the FAFSA® in order to get their diploma. Read about how this can help students in The New York Times.