THE BILL AND MELINDA Gates Foundation, the philanthropic and sometimes controversial group whose funding has influenced major education policy decisions in the U.S., is launching a new higher education initiative to answer the question, “Is college worth it?”
“More than at any other time I can remember, students and families across America are asking themselves, is college worth it,'” Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, said. “As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I’d hear, ‘Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?’ This question of value needs to be addressed, and we feel that it needs to be addressed urgently.”
To that end, the foundation has convened a 30-person commission to evaluate the returns of education after high school, especially for low-income students and students of color.
Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Year Round Pell grants will be available to students beginning July 1, 2017. This policy change will ensure hundreds of thousands of college students have the resources needed to finish their coursework in a timeframe that meets their individual needs.
“This decision is about empowering students and giving them the flexibility and support needed to achieve their goals,” said Secretary DeVos. “Expanding access to the Pell program, so that students who need additional resources can graduate more quickly and with less debt, is the right thing to do.”
This change in the Federal Pell Grant Program will allow an eligible student to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning with the 2017–2018 award year.
I’m not afraid to admit that being a college senior was a little frightening (okay, slight understatement — it was extremely frightening!). As you, the Class of 2014, prepare to say goodbye to the comforts of your college community and say hello to the real world, you’re faced with many realities. Where will I live? How am I going to find a job? Will I make ends meet? Will I be happy?
And with all these new exciting challenges, one of the last things on most of your minds is repaying your student loans. Yet it’s one of our responsibilities and you need to be prepared for when the first bill arrives in the mail.
Earlier today at Coral Reef High School in Miami, President Obama announced the launch of an exciting initiative to help ensure that more of America’s students take the first step towards college success: completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
The FAFSA Completion Initiative helps states, districts and schools give students the support they need to complete the form which serves as the gateway to accessing financial aid for college, career school, or graduate school.