Population of needy college students is exploding

A higher education official from Wisconsin who attended the recent Council of Independent Colleges conference in Florida made a remarkable statement during a question-and-answer session, the Washington Post reports. There is a group of students who enter college with such dire financial need that the amount the federal government expects their families to contribute to college is effectively zero. In Wisconsin, that zero-pay population has grown by half in a single year: from 42,641 students in the 2008-09 academic year to 65,800 in 2009-10. The data come from Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and surely they mirror a national trend…

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Colleges replacing loans with no-pay grants for neediest students

More than 70 colleges have replaced loans with grants in financial aid awards, at least for their neediest students, a wave of largess that spread nationwide in 2007 and 2008. Now, some of the first students to benefit are graduating, often debt-free, reports the Washington Post. No-loan pledges effectively reduce the price of college to zero for a select group of disadvantaged students at elite national universities and liberal arts schools…

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