Blog Archives

New Policy Brief Highlights Need to Protect and Improve Financial Aid

higher ed briefMany high school students and young adults are turning to college in order to increase their future job and earnings prospects. Yet, with ever-increasing higher education costs, far too many students and their families are coming up short, and accumulating burdensome debt. NCTC’s newest policy brief, “Investing in Our Future: Financial Aid Policies that Increase Access and Affordability in Higher Education,” examines some of the recent changes in the financial aid system, on both the state and the federal levels, and provides some recommendations to protect and bolster these programs, allowing higher education to become an affordable reality for any student, regardless of his or her income. Read the rest of this entry


FAU Allows Students to Reach Their Full Potential

Grad HatThe voting continues until Tuesday, October 15th for NCTC and the Citi Foundation for the Best Partnership Award for the Financial Aid U program. You can vote once per day, every day!

With funding from the Citi Foundation, Financial Aid U (FAU) has helped put more than 8,000 students across the U.S. on the path to earning a college degree. Our program helps steer students through the complex financial aid process and unlocks millions of dollars in federal and state aid and loan funding. For these students, financial aid is a crucial determining factor in their decision and ability to pursue a college degree. Read the rest of this entry

Student Loan Interest Rates: Compromise (Finally!) Reached

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

Last Friday, President Obama officially signed into law a bipartisan compromise bill that lawmakers say will save students thousands of dollars in student-loan interest payments after they graduate. NCTC, particularly through the Financial Aid U and College Assistance Programs, is committed to ensuring low- and moderate-income students are able to afford the higher education they want to get ahead. Here’s a brief overview of the compromise that was reached, after this summer saw a flurry of proposals and counter-proposals attempting to address the student loan issue. Read the rest of this entry

2013 Financial Aid U Training Institute Request for Applications

FAUIn conjunction with the Citi Foundation, NCTC created the Financial Aid U (FAU) Training Institute to educate and train new, selected organizations to implement FAFSA preparation services in their communities. This past tax season NCTC trained seven new programs to launch FAU in their communities so they could assist students in gaining access to federal student aid for postsecondary education. Read the rest of this entry

Climbing the Hill toward greater higher-ed access


Crystal Gilliam from the Food Bank for New York City (L) and NCTC’s Rebecca Riha (R) meet with Hana Greenberg (center), legislative aide for Senator Chuck Schumer, during NCTC’s day of action.

Last week, NCTC organized a Day of Action so that some of our Financial Aid U (FAU) and College Assistance Program (CAP) members could meet with their elected officials in order to advocate for higher education and financial aid policies that increase postsecondary access and affordability. These two initiatives both entail assisting students and their families with filling-out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the first step in accessing financial aid, without which the dream of attending college would be beyond the reach of too many families. Read the rest of this entry

Year after Year, Financial Aid U Helps Students Achieve College Success (Video)

Financial Aid U

Since 2008, FAU has served more than 8,000 students from coast to coast

This post is part of our week-long series on higher education affordability and accessibility. Check back each day for a new post!

A forthcoming research paper confirms what we’ve known anecdotally for a while: the FAFSA remains a huge barrier to college access for low-income students. With that knowledge, the Citi Foundation and Center for Economic Progress formed the Financial Aid U (FAU) project in 2008.

Initially in Chicago, and now nationwide, the Financial U program has helped more than 8,000 students fill out their FAFSA in the past four years. In 2012 alone, students had access to nearly $30 million in federal and state aid.

Read the rest of this entry