By Campaign for College Opportunity President Michele Siqueiros
As back-to-school season and the college application period approaches this fall, paying for college remains a concern facing many students and their families.
Even as the value of a college degree grows and more students are prepared and want to go to college, the cost of college is one of the biggest barriers low-income students face. At the Campaign we believe that family income should never keep a talented and hard-working American from the many opportunities possible before them. This is a quintessential American value that we must preserve and it is also why student aid is funded, including the federal Pell Grant, worth up to $5,700 per year for low-income student and Cal Grants, worth between $4,000 and $12,000 per year, depending on the type of institution the student attends. However, the broken process of applying for Pell and Cal Grants inadvertently sets up a new obstacle: a complex, redundant and poorly-timed federal financial aid form that can sometimes be an unnecessary hurdle for California students in need of aid in order to go to college.