New America's Education Policy Program has a new report out today that presents a comprehensive package of reforms to the existing federal student aid system for higher education. The Education team makes a compelling case for the need for reform:
In short, the present federal financial aid system is no longer up to the demands of the times. It was built in a different era and has evolved haphazardly over the decades, in response to fiscal exigency and interest group pressures. It has become unwieldy, inefficient, and overly complicated, in a way that wastes taxpayer dollars and fails to provide institutions and students with the resources and incentives they need to complete high-quality college degrees....Taxpayers and students need an aid system that is simpler, more understandable, more effective, and fairer.
In particular, they propose reforms that dramatically strengthen the Pell Grant program, simplify the federal student loan program, eliminate education tax breaks which currently favor higher-income families, boost programs that support disadvantaged middle and high school students, and make institutions of higher education more accountable to both students and taxpayers.