A report on what ought to happen with student financial aid.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the RADD project, here's the executive summary. Developed by NASFAA- I've written before how much I admire this group- the report provides
"broad policy considerations to generate discussion and debate
with the goal of advancing key policy issues facing student aid."
A couple of key points:
"Policy Consideration: Provide predictive wage information before students enroll to decrease indebtedness and improve student outcomes."
YES. We should be telling prevets what they can expect to make. *I* think it makes sense to use the real time data from each school's graduate cohort by year, as available under the Gainful Employment system.
"The lack of practical tools available to schools to effectively counsel or deter unneeded borrowing can lead to ...over-borrowing relative to their degree. Policy Consideration: Provide schools with the authority to limit borrowing..."
YES. Schools should control this. Right now aid officers at the colleges have their hands tied- a student can borrow the federal max because our culture tells them it's ok, even if it's not a sound financial decision in the long run. Understandably, the schools then lean on this 'easy' money to sustain revenue in the face of decreased state allocations, diminished income streams from investments and donations and tighter supplies of research funding. Out of self interest, schools aren't going to impose limits so draconian that students can't keep body and soul together while completing their degree.
The full report can be found here. I have to confess: I think Bill Gates is the Antichrist. As an Apple devotee and an absolute and forever Jobs acolyte, I totally understand as an economic objectivist why he never gave money to charity. But kudos to Bill for doing so. Humans are capable of such wonderful contradiction.