Policies related to paying for college may be particularly unpredictable in 2020 – a year one expert calls “the quiet before the storm.”
Students can expect college tuition prices to generally continue the previous decade’s trend and rise to historic heights, despite swirling political talk about free college and schools weighing an increase in financial aid dollars to help offset those prices.
Experts say many of the same financial challenges will remain for the nation’s large and growing population of low-income college students and student loan borrowers. The latter group is likely to be the subject of heightened focus in 2020, as the student debt crisis gets varying degrees of attention from presidential candidates, lawmakers and the Department of Education.
More Funding for Financial Aid
Lawmakers approved funding increases for financial aid in a December 2019 spending package that may provide some relief to students.
The bill raises the maximum Pell Grant, a form of federal need-based financial aid for low-income students, for the 2020-2021 academic year by $150 to $6,345.
It also provides an additional $50 million for the federal work-study program and $25 million for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a need-based grant for low-income undergraduates. Much of this funding was beyond the amounts requested by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has proposed the elimination or scaling back of these programs.
Beyond the funding increases, other policy and procedural changes may have a future impact on financial aid.
The 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, looks much the same as it has in prior years, with the exception of a few questions. That won’t be the case next year, when significant changes will take effect in the 2021-2022 aid cycle – shortening of the application by removing questions and improvement to data sharing between the IRS and the Department of Education that aims to make the FAFSA more accurate and the filing process simpler.
For the original article click here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/what-to-expect-when-paying-for-college-in-2020
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