The president of Grinnell College says the formula used to determine “need” for federal student aid is flawed and places a bigger burden on middle-income families. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is designed to calculate how much individual families can be expect to pay toward their child’s education. Grinnell College President Russell Osgood says that formula has been beneficial to those in the low-income brackets.
“The problem is most people whose kids go to college are in the middle of the income heap,” Osgood said. “And FAFSA has been less than proportionately increasing the computation of need for that group.” The expected family contributions of those in the middle-income brackets, Osgood claims, are “far out of alignment” with the rising cost of living.
“We would love the federal government to take a new look at the need brackets on the FAFSA to more equitably award aid to people in the lower middle class and middle class,” Osgood said. Federal officials recently simplified the FAFSA form, so Osgood is hoping they’ll agree to the changes he’s requesting.
“We know they’re interested in the form because they recently revised it to make it simpler, so this seemed like the moment to talk about this publicly,” Osgood told Radio Iowa. A federal mandate requires the U.S. Department of Education to update the FAFSA formula on an annual basis. Osgood plans to step down as president of Grinnell College in July. He became the 12th president of the private college in August of 1998.