Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at the University of Michigan, writer for The New York Times (Ann Arbor, MI)
Why financial aid is broken and a simple solution to fix it
The federal system of student financial aid is broken. Many smart students forgo college in the mistaken belief that they cannot afford it. The financial aid system, intended to increase opportunities for low-income students, is to blame. Information about aid eligibility is hidden behind a thicket of paperwork. Complex financial paperwork is a time-consuming nuisance for college-educated parents. For the low-income, first generation college students that aid intends to help, it’s a serious roadblock on the route to college. What if we eliminated the aid application altogether? Susan Dynarski, New York Times columnist and Professor of Economics, Education and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, suggests an enticingly simple alternative.
Susan writes about and teaches the economics of education and inequality. Her experience as a first-generation college student sparked her interest in these topics. Her father was a high school dropout, but she earned a Bachelor degree. at Harvard. Susan worked as a union organizer, earned her PhD from MIT, and then joined the Harvard faculty. As part of her work with activists and governments, Susan testified to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to improve education for low-income students. She now teaches public policy, education, and economics at the University of Michigan and writes for the New York Times.