Hamilton Project Papers

By Betsy Prueter

The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution has recently released three policy papers focused on improving college outcomes through changes in federal financial aid policies.

Highlights from each of the three papers are below:

  • Sandy Baum (George Washington University) and Judith Scott-Clayton (Columbia University) in Redesigning the Pell Grant Program for the Twenty-First Century recommend reforms to the Pell Grant program to better serve low-income students and families.
    • These reforms include providing tailored guidance and support services to Pell recipients shown to improve academic and employment outcomes, simplifying eligibility and the application process for federal financial aid, and providing incentives for student progress and completion.
  • Susan Dynarski and Daniel Kreisman (University of Michigan) in Loans for Education Opportunity: Making Borrowing Work for Today’s Students recommend a new income-based repayment system for federal loans to replace the multiple loan repayment options currently available.
    • Under this model borrowers’ payments would rise and fall with income and borrowers would continue to make payments until loans are paid off for a maximum of 25 years.
  • Phillip Levine (Wellesley College) in Simplifying Estimates of College Costs: The Quick College Cost Estimator addresses concerns of “sticker shock” by prospective college students and their families.
    • Given that most families pay considerably less than the “sticker” price” for college, a new online tool developed for Wellesley College quickly communicates the price students can expect to actually pay based on only six financial inputs.