RELEASE: New Strategies for Improving Federal Student Aid Formulas for Student-Parents

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new column outlining strategies to improve Federal Student Aid Office formulas for student-parents. The recommendations follow previous CAP research that found that nearly half of student-parents who began college in the 2003-04 school year and borrowed a federal loan for their undergraduate education defaulted within 12 years of enrolling—double the rate of students without children. Student-parents—nearly 55 percent of whom are single and the vast majority being mothers—account for 22 percent of all college students. The policy recommendations include:

  • Awarding larger Pell Grants to student-parents, bringing the United States in line with other countries such as Canada, Finland, and Germany, which have adopted similar policies
  • Adjusting the income-driven repayment discretionary exemption based on the number of children in the home
  • Giving student-parents special priority under the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant by rewriting the formula for that determines how much funding institutions receive and requiring schools to prioritize distributing this aid to Pell-eligible student-parents

“Student-parents face some of the strongest financial headwinds while in college, juggling the cost of attendance with raising a family,” said Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress and author of the column. “These reforms would provide critical help to the most low-income student-parents, improving their ability to get to and through school, earn a credential, and better provide for their family. Congress should consider them immediately.”

Please click here to read the column: “3 Ways Federal Financial Aid Could Work Better for Student-Parents” by Ben Miller

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.