Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Financial Aid Reforms Overlook Independent Students

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Financial Aid Reforms Overlook Independent Students

Article excerpt

Federal and state financial aid programs have largely ignored the needs of today s changing postsecondary student populations, according to an article by Leo Kornfeld and Mark Kantrowitz. The authors argue that when the Higher Education Act of 1965 was passed, the majority of college students transitioned immediately from high school to full-time college enrollment, whereas today most students follow a decidedly nontraditional path.

Government definitions of what constitutes financial independence for purposes of determining need-based aid do not take into account the real-world circumstances of many students who are younger than age 24, the federal threshold for independent status. For example, students who are obliged to leave home and support themselves once they reach age 18 are not considered independent regardless of their ability to show financial autonomy.

"If the purpose of student aid is to increase access to higher education, governments and institutions should tailor both the amount and the type of aid to the populations that need to be served" (p. …

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