Blog Archives

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month!

graduation_000The month of February is dedicated to a topic near and dear to our heart, Financial Aid Awareness month. Our efforts around empowering low-income, first generation students have focused around this topic with several of our initiatives, including most recently our College Assistance Program and our Financial Aid U Training Institute. Read the rest of this entry


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

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

“College Scorecard” Helps Students Compare Higher-Ed Costs

College MoneyBuilding upon last year’s release of the “Financial Aid Shopping Sheet,” the U.S. Department of Education, working with the White House, has created a “College Scorecard” online tool. This is designed to help students and their families better understand and compare the costs of attendance at institutions of higher education. Read the rest of this entry

Bill to Extend Help for College Students Introduced

Barring action from Congress, the partially refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) will expire at the end of 2012 and revert to the nonrefundable Hope Credit. The White House estimates 11 million families would face an average tax increase of $1,100 for each student who would have been eligible for the AOTC in 2013 if this happens.

At a time when our economy depends on growing our pool of highly-skilled and well-educated labor, we cannot prevent low-income students from getting ahead and accessing opportunities to attain a college degree. We shouldn’t risk decreasing their ability to pay for their education.

Fortunately, a bill – H.R. 6179 – has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to extend the AOTC for another year, delaying its expiration until Dec. 31, 2013. Read the rest of this entry