NASFAA Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

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National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators To Increase Availability of Tools for High School Counselors

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“By arming high school counselors with financial aid information and delivering college cost information earlier to families, we can help all students to ‘Reach Higher’ and earn their degrees,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger.

Today, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and President Justin Draeger will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

As part of this initiative, NASFAA is committing to making its Financial Aid Night Toolkit more widely available and expanding its Speaker and Mentor Professional Directory so that more high school counselors can have access to these important resources. In addition, NASFAA is striving to make the financial aid application process more simple and accessible for students and families by working with federal agencies to implement prior-prior year income assessments on the FAFSA.

“Understanding true college costs is critical to attaining and succeeding in higher education,” NASFAA’s Draeger said. “By arming high school counselors with financial aid information and delivering college cost information earlier to families, we can help all students to ‘Reach Higher’ and earn their degrees.”

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

About NASFAA
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit http://www.nasfaa.org.

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Erin Timmons
NASFAA
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