How COVID-19 Exacerbates Existing Inequities in Our Financial Aid System   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Document: "Over time, the disparate impacts of student loan borrowing in the United States have created a financial crisis for several groups of students, and the current COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic threatens to exacerbate these long-standing disparities by magnifying their root causes. It comes as no surprise, then, that some of the earliest COVID-19 policy discussions centered on helping borrowers who were struggling to repay their loans during the economic downturn. Congress must remember these disparities as it considers new financial aid policies and measures to support student loan borrowers during the turbulent period ahead. Pandemic-exacerbated inequities will create substantial challenges for students who have already borrowed to finance their higher education and those who are interested in enrolling in the fall. This policy brief outlines three recommendations for the federal government to consider: 1) creating COVID-19 specific accommodations in the financial aid application process, 2) extending federal loan protections until the American public has been adequately inoculated against COVID-19, and 3) maintaining funding for statistical agencies tasked with studying higher education. In the current moment, policymakers must recognize that a lack of affordable education options or supports for manageable loan repayment will hamper efforts to improve both access and success at the postsecondary level, blocking the ability of the United States to reach its educational attainment goals."

Third Way
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