Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren's proposed amendment to the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013 was adopted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The amendment would require the Department of Education to establish a pilot program to explore the impact of increased information on college costs and financial aid on students' likelihood to apply to college, to enroll, to apply for financial aid and to receive financial aid. A recent study by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby indicates that well-designed college information can have an effect on students' decisions.
Senator Warren introduced the amendment at today's HELP Committee mark-up session. "Our overall education bill requires that we get our students college and career ready. But that's not helpful if the kids can't figure out how to apply for college and then how to pay for college," said Senator Warren. "We have students that are being crushed by student loans, and we have students that aren't applying to college because they worry about student loan debt.
"We know specifically from studies that low income students have less accurate views about the costs of college and we know that they are less likely to have information about financial aid. We also know from studies that when college seems out of reach to students they are less likely to take college prep classes, they don't apply to college, they don't apply for financial aid. What we are looking for are ways to find effective, affordable counseling for these kids."
The Strengthening America's Schools Act, introduced by HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and co-sponsored by Senator Warren, would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace the failed tenets of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in an effort to set high standards, give states flexibility, ensure disadvantaged students receive the support they need, provide access to early childhood education, and prepare our students for college.