Overwhelming is a good way to describe what it’s like to send your child off to college. Maybe you’re sad (or happy, no judgement) to have them out of the nest and discovering their first taste of independence. Aside from hoping they go to class and get an education that can set them up for a bright future, there are dorms to furnish and long-term decisions to make.
And all of that doesn’t include one of the most stressful aspects: how to pay for college.
One way to alleviate the stress of sorting through the financial aid process is by attending College Goal Sunday on November 5. Financial aid professionals will volunteer at 39 locations around the state to help students and families fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The document is required for students at most colleges and universities to be eligible for grants, scholarships and student loans.
While the FAFSA process can seem daunting or time consuming, students and families can fill out and file the form online in one afternoon with the help of professionals standing by.
College Goal Sunday is run by the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (IFSAA) and is adding this November event in addition to its annual College Goal Sunday in February.
Interested? Here’s what you should bring:
Students should attend with parents or guardians (unless students are age 24 or older)
Parents should bring completed 2016 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 forms and other 2016 income and benefits information
Students who worked the previous year should bring their income information
Students age 24 and older should bring their own completed 2016 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2016 income and benefits information
Students and parents are encouraged to apply for U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at ed.gov before attending the event
A complete list of sites is available at CollegeGoalSunday.org. All sites will have online capabilities and many will offer Spanish language interpreters. Students who attend and fill out a completed evaluation will also be entered to win one of five $1,000 scholarships.
With all the attention on health care reform, cap and trade, and other widespread federal issues, little notice has apparently been given to a proposal that would directly eliminate Indiana jobs.
President Obama announced earlier this year the intention to do away with private origination of student loans, turning the job over completely to the U.S. Department of Education. Based on past experiences in various areas, do we really want the government running this program?
I don’t claim to know a great deal about the process (it has been 25 years since I exited Ball State and began paying back a fortunately small amount). I expect to learn a lot more in the coming months as the parent of a high school senior who, despite excellent grades and likely scholarships, will be entering the borrowing world in some phase.
What I do know is that Sallie Mae employs 2,300 Hoosiers, with the company reporting a $148 million payroll in 2008. In addition to the Fishers operation, there is a fairly new facility in Delaware County. Throw in related non-company jobs and the impact grows.
It’s all (or should be) about students and supporting their abilities to complete their higher education. The administration proposal would seemingly minimize options and be an obstacle toward that ultimate goal. And there are those Hoosier jobs.
Here at the Chamber, we like to spend our days delving in theory (and by "we," I mean people who possess a greater cognitive capacity than I do). And this concept of human capital and student loans struck some of us as intriguing.
What if students repaid loans with a percentage of their future earnings? The National Center for Policy Analysis tackled the subject. Check out their analysis, which links to the original article in the Dallas Morning News by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow:
Originally the brainchild of Milton Friedman, human capital contracts are seen as a way to remove the risk of overwhelming debt for students and mitigate the social costs of trying to repay it. By gearing repayment to income, the contracts reduce those burdens sharply — a student who earns less money is obligated to pay less back.
The potentially lower payments explain why human capital contracts would draw students, but there’s an attraction for investors, as well, says Tuhus-Dubrow:
An education fund offers investors a steady flow, protection against inflation and a more targeted hedge for large employers.
Investors could be motivated by philanthropic goals: wealth alumni might see this as a way to help students attend their high-priced alma maters.
Foundations and schools could require students to sign contracts stating that nothing is owed up to a certain point, but high-earning graduates would repay a percentage of their income, allowing the foundation to recycle that money into later classes.
However, for all the benefits, the contracts pose multiple challenges in practice, adds Tuhus-Dubrow:
They create an incentive for graduates to hide their income and make it easier for them to not work, since no fixed payment is required.
Adverse selection and discrimination against low-income students could cause problems.
Further, it’s not clear how the contracts would be enforced, how the IRS would treat them and what would happen in the case of bankruptcy.