The Institute for College Access & Success

The Institute for College Access & Success


Can anyone recommend (or share) a spreadsheet that would easily keep track of loans, payments, due dates, etc.?
This is an important way to help those who are not rich borrow for their education.
TICAS- thank you for the work you do!

Does anyone know how I can get a document with all of the qualifying payments (and their date) I have made toward PSLF? I have been bounced between loan servicers, and my current servicer (PHEAA) isn't of any help. Thank you for any direction you can provide.
To Whom it may concern,
My name is Michelle Dodgion, I am a student at Los Angeles Valley College.
Since the start of the new semester I have been to the financial aid office twice to check on my student loan. Mind you, waiting in the hot sun for two hours only to be told they don't have the applications yet. If they knew they didn’t have the applications, and they knew the new software was not updating with any useful information, couldn't somebody have come out to make that announcement and save us all that time of waiting? Why couldn’t they have just sent out an email blast back in August or July to let us know to expect delays? I was told that they would not have the loan application forms till October and then it will be an additional 4 to 6 weeks before any loans are processed and approved. This will put me in a serious financial bind. In past years’ loan money was disbursed in October, this year it seems there are nothing but delays due to new procedures and new software. I can't get any information on when my CAL grant will be disbursed either.
This is my last year before I apply to the nursing school, but if the financial aid does not arrive soon, I will be forced to drop out. My textbooks alone come to about $350, in the past I could show the bookstore my award letter and get the textbooks and supplies I needed "on credit", but this year my award letter is non-existent. If I try to view it on the new SIS, it along with much of my information has not populated yet. I can’t even get a copy of my unofficial transcript which I need to apply for a tutoring job on campus.
Bear in mind that if I do have to drop out, my past student loans will become due and I will be asked to start paying for a degree that I do not have. My end of the bargain was to perform up to a recognized standard; yours was to fulfill the financial commitment you agreed upon when I enrolled at LAVC.
I entered into an agreement with parties that said they will loan me funds to go to school and upon graduation I would go to work in my chosen field and repay said loan.
I understand the nature of the problem; we have a new computer system that frankly is not working yet. The system that Financial Aid uses is new, but that does not concern me. If my car breaks down or my computer crashes, I am still responsible for my work. No excuses. The people responsible for this short sightedness need to realize that they are responsible too, including the very real likelihood that they are altering lives forever – and not in a good way. This situation would have been prevented if you had more carefully considered how your new system would disrupt lives. My education now hangs in the balance. I know that I am not the only student facing these consequences. I have made the dean’s list twice now, and I plan to make the Presidents list at the end of this semester. I have never missed a day of class.
If there is anything you can do to help it would be greatly appreciated. Surely our administrators understand that the school will suffer from this just as much as the students. If there is no timely resolution to this issue how many more students will simply drop?
I realize you cannot make federal money appear out of thin air, but LAVC or the LACCD must do something to make up for broken promises, and bridge the gap for students like me who are in desperate need so we can continue our studies.
I urge you to please bring this matter to those who can do something to help before it is too late. The students who depend on financial aid need an advocate, and it should be you, not me.
Respectfully, Michelle Dodgion 884916059 | Promoting affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education.

Operating as usual


NEW BLOG SERIES | On July 1, 2023, the doors to opened for hundreds of thousands more students who are incarcerated. While we celebrate the return of Pell to prison education programs, part 1 of this 2-part blog series explores the history of Pell Grant access for incarcerated student over the past few decades.

Read the blog:


"The passage of AB 789 would help struggling California students stay on their path toward earning a college degree and help build our state’s workforce of tomorrow."
- Alexandra Lewandowski, in today. Read the Op-Ed here:


Interested in learning about the and what it is? Read below to find out more about what this year's reauthorization means to current and prospective college students and how it affects the available resources they have in their pursuit of a degree.

1. What is the ?

The Farm Bill is legislation that governs agricultural and food policy. The federal government must reauthorize it every five years.

This significant legislation governs many nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

2. How does education access in SNAP affect the economy?

In 2021, over 14 million people on SNAP, who were 18+ had a high school diploma but no college credential.

SNAP policies that restrict education undermine higher education and workforce development.

3. Currently, higher education is not defined as an “Employment and Training Program” under SNAP policies. What does that mean?

SNAP participants are effectively barred from accessing education beyond high school, hindering their employability.

SNAP’s education restrictions undermine federal and state investments in higher education and workforce development, stymying economic growth.

4. How can we ensure SNAP promotes economic growth?

Through the Farm Bill reauthorization, Congress can modernize SNAP policies to include postsecondary programs under the definition of “Employment and Training Programs.”

Congress can count enrollment in a postsecondary program as an exemption that confers eligibility for students enrolled at least half-time.


For nearly two decades, TICAS has been fighting for greater college accessibility and affordability for the most vulnerable communities across the nation. Now, we’re looking Onward.

, our ambitious and transformative strategic plan envisions a more fair, accessible, and equitable higher education system for the next generation of students. Join us as we journey Onward.

Learn more:


NEW | The program is the federal government’s most effective investment in college affordability and helps 6+ million students attend and complete college every year. But the current maximum award covers the lowest share of college costs in the program’s history. That’s why we’re urging Congress to and strengthen the program for future generations.

Read more:


👏Kudos to TICAS Michigan and its dedicated community partners for having 6 out of 8 priorities included in the final FY24 state budget! Collectively, these investments will help remove barriers that prevent thousands of Michiganders from low-income backgrounds from pursuing a credential. Additionally, we are grateful to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature for prioritizing policies that further improve college access, affordability, and success.

Read more about the higher education priorities included in the final FY24 Michigan budget here:


The , which is set to be reauthorized this year has critical implications for the economy. Current and prospective students will be affected by Farm Bill provisions in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that could help or continue to harm people’s ability to improve their employment outcomes. Stay tuned over the next few months as we advocate for the adoption of two common sense policy recommendations to alleviate barriers to accessing . Click the link in our bio to read our recommendations


The , which is set to be reauthorized this year has critical implications for the economy. Current and prospective students will be affected by Farm Bill provisions in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that could help or continue to harm people’s ability to improve their employment outcomes. Stay tuned over the next few months as we advocate for the adoption of two common sense policy recommendations to alleviate barriers to accessing . Read our recommendations here:


We’re excited to share that Leslie Rios has joined TICAS as a Senior Policy Associate on our Anti-Poverty & Basic Needs team! Leslie will help TICAS advance its federal and state anti-poverty and basic needs agenda!

As a first-generation college graduate, Leslie understands the importance of improving access and equity within higher education, especially for people from low-income backgrounds and students of color. We are thrilled to have Leslie on the TICAS team!


NEW BLOG | California’s FY23-24 budget three-party agreement between the Governor's office, the Assembly, & the Senate is now final. TICAS applauds the Governor’s office and the Legislature for their continued efforts to invest in programs and policy changes that will make college more affordable, ensure that all students in California can access high-quality higher education, and build out an essential student data system.

Read the blog:


July 1 marked the start of higher fixed interest rates for new federal loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parents. Stay up to date by understanding the impact of new interest rates on your loans to make informed decisions about your .

OPINION: It’s time to put the brakes on student debt and give more students a shot at higher education 07/17/2023

What can policymakers do to pump the brakes on student debt and give more students a shot at ?

"Ultimately, Congress must address the root causes of the student debt crisis by enabling all students, regardless of family income, to earn a four-year degree at a public college without needing to borrow.

"By boosting the Pell Grant and partnering with states to restore investment in public colleges — and lowering costs — we can eliminate the need to borrow to earn a four-year degree from any public institution," writes TICAS' Michele Shepard in The Hechinger Report:

OPINION: It’s time to put the brakes on student debt and give more students a shot at higher education Federal relief programs could be a financial lifeline for millions of families and prevent ‘debt without degree’


OUT NOW | We’re thrilled to share a set of tools to help advocates make a case for increasing funding for the Postsecondary Student Success Grant program to scale Comprehensive Approaches to Student Success initiatives nationwide.

TICAS’ latest interactive map on where to find evidence-based programs identifies institutions, cities, and states where rigorously evaluated college completion programs are located, as well as the members of Congress that represent those communities.

View the interactive map:

Read why the Postsecondary Student Success Grant program matters:


NEW | As Congress considers the 2023 Farm Bill, TICAS urges policymakers to adopt overdue reforms that remove restrictions on education beyond high school. This bipartisan opportunity to modernize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will better connect SNAP participants to programs that lead to economic mobility and self-sufficiency.

Read TICAS’ Farm Bill Recommendations to Congress here:


In the aftermath of last week’s ruling on , millions of borrowers’ financial futures are even more uncertain now than ever before, especially with the repayment pause ending in the fall. For borrowers who defaulted on their loans, TICAS’ Jessica Thompson recommends signing up for the Biden-Harris Administration’s program, which will help borrowers who were delinquent or in default before the payment pause get their loans back into good standing.

Read more:


The Biden-Harris Administration’s one-time student debt relief program was a powerful initiative towards addressing inequities in our system. While we are deeply disappointed in ' ruling, there is much work to be done for students on the path that lies ahead. Here's what we can do to support past and future students:

1️⃣ Urge Congress to double the maximum Pell Grant & strengthen the Pell Grant Program, Pell Grants are crucial for students of color. Nearly 60% of Black students, 50% of American Indian or Alaska Native students, and nearly 50% of Latinx students receive a Pell Grant each year.
2️⃣ Encourage the Department of Education to make Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Work Better for Borrowers.
3️⃣ Focus on historically underfunded institutions such as community colleges, regional public universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions.
4️⃣ Encourage state and federal policymakers to work closely together to create a pathway to debt-free college.

Crushed student loan borrowers are skipping meals, moving in with parents, panicking over money 06/30/2023

Today’s ruling against the Biden-Harris Administration’s one-time student debt relief program is a significant blow to millions of borrowers who were hopeful for some financial respite.

“You’re asking people to mortgage their futures in order to have a future,” said Jessica Thompson, vice president for The Institute for College Access & Success.

Read more:

Crushed student loan borrowers are skipping meals, moving in with parents, panicking over money Student loan holders are bracing for a double hit. Biden's loan relief plan is blocked, and a years-long pandemic pause in payments ends in October.


TICAS is disappointed by today’s ruling to strike down the Biden-Harris Administration’s one-time cancellation program. This ruling erodes efforts to ease the burden on borrowers & hinders progress toward an equitable system.


BREAKING NEWS | strikes down the Biden-Harris administration's one-time student debt cancellation program. Today's decision will throw millions of borrowers into financial uncertainty just as the payment pause is due to end.


Today's SCOTUS decision to strike down will have a long-lasting impact on historically marginalized student's in . Now more than ever we need to amplify the voices of students of color and work together to create a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape. Read below for more on how we can continue to support students of color.

1️⃣ We urge Members of Congress to make equitable investments in schools serving the largest shares of students of color, including Historically Black Colleges & Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, & Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

2️⃣ Students of color already face a number of hurdles before they can even apply to college. Removing barriers to access, like admissions fees, standardized testing mandates, legacy admissions, and application fees are just some examples to ensure access for all, no matter their economic or racial background.

3️⃣ . To do so, we must center race in any discussions assessing the value of college and ensure that people of color feel supported throughout the to workforce pipeline by incorporating comprehensive supports to help them succeed.


Today’s SCOTUS decision to strike down race-conscious admissions at colleges will undoubtedly set the nation back in any progress made toward achieving racial equity. Affirmative action was the bare minimum to help level the playing field. Our statement:

Work rules for benefits programs deter low-income Americans from going to college 06/26/2023

“Higher education is workforce development. Government programs should be the last entity that should be restricting things that we know work," said TICAS' Carrie Welton, who leads its basic needs and anti-poverty work. Read more:

Work rules for benefits programs deter low-income Americans from going to college A million students may be at risk of losing food stamp benefits as restrictions resume


OUT NOW | ‘Why the Postsecondary Student Success Grant Program Matters’ dives into key data points on student populations 'stopping out' & the importance of increasing funding streams for comprehensive programs like to improve graduation rates. Read more:


In a letter responding to the Department of Education’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, TICAS applauds the Department of Education’s for its proposed higher education accountability rules, which aim to protect students and taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse. The measures, including Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment, Financial Responsibility, Administrative Capability, Certification Procedures, and Ability to Benefit, if implemented, would ensure a higher education landscape where students can thrive.

Read the letter from TICAS:


TUNE IN | Today, at 3:30pm ET, TICAS' Casey Nguyen joins The Executive Leadership Council's (ELC) LinkedIn Live panel to discuss how a scaled back affirmative action ruling would impact the talent pipeline the need to .

Register here:


NEW BRIEF | TICAS' latest analysis highlights how states like Iowa and Louisiana are boosting FAFSA completion rates by making it a requirement for high school graduation. Our analysis found these measures helped remove barriers and unlocked more opportunities for students. By ensuring that every student has access to financial aid, these states have increased the likelihood of their students staying enrolled and successfully completing a postsecondary degree.

Read the brief here:


TICAS president Sameer Gadkaree's statement on President Biden's veto of a Congressional Review Act resolution that would have blocked the administration’s one-time student debt relief program.

Read the full statement:


🎙TICAS' Marshall Anthony Jr. chatted on by Education Reform Now to discuss our report from January on , and what it means to shift the narrative for Black students in .

Listen in as he talks what it means to create an equity based system for Black students, in a system that was never created with them in mind.


ICYMI: TICAS commissioned leading academics Jennifer Delaney, William Doyle, Kelly Rosinger, Vanessa Sansone, David Troutman, Di Xu, and Brendan Cantwell to write a series of papers to inform the policy conversation about how to implement effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions to make a reality for students.

The first three papers outline the current college financing landscape and examine the trade-offs of recent federal-state funding partnership proposals.

The final three papers examine specific components that could be addressed as part of a larger federal-state funding partnership proposal: using longitudinal data to close equity gaps; improving student academic outcomes by establishing minimum standards for faculty; and how research institutions can preserve the research mission while limiting students’ exposure to associated costs.

Read the full compendium here


🎙TUNE IN | TICAS' Dr. Jhenai Chandler chatted with the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) to discuss the most pressing challenges that students are encountering and the student support programs that can give them the tools they need to be able to complete a degree. Listen here:


TICAS is hiring! We are excited to grow our team with people that are passionate about building a better landscape for students! We have openings in our MI and Basic Needs Teams. Visit to learn more!


🎙️ TUNE IN | TICAS president, Sameer Gadkaree, College Futures Foundation' Eloy Oakley, & The Century Foundation' Bob Shireman discuss U.S. Department of Education's proposed changes to third-party servicers & online program management providers and the impact that these changes would have on .


We’re hiring! TICAS is looking to grow its team with passionate changemakers dedicated to making more equitable. We are looking to fill roles in our Research, MI, and Basic Needs Teams.

Visit to learn more!


TICAS applauds U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to and ensure programs deliver valuable skills for successful postsecondary and workforce outcomes. This meaningful action sends a clear message: deceptive and fraudulent practices from programs that don’t have students’ best interest will be met with consequences.

Our statement on the Department's proposed accountability rules, including reinstating the gainful employment rule:

Forget that $90,000 sticker price: College costs are actually going down 05/16/2023

"It's important context for people to understand that whatever that big shocking tuition number is, it's not necessarily what they actually have to pay," said TICAS' Michele Shepard. "But it's important to reiterate, that doesn't mean that it’s actually affordable."

Forget that $90,000 sticker price: College costs are actually going down The sticker price at America’s priciest colleges is approaching $90,000, a milestone that has inspired fresh debate about whether college is worth the cost.  But the overall numbers tell …


Today, Governor Newsom released his May Revision. Though not as severe as many feared, amidst fiscal uncertainty, it reflects the state’s reality shift from historic surplus to significant deficit.

Read more about the implications from TICAS' Manny Rodriguez:


EQUITY ALERT | Fully funding before the Middle Class Scholarship program is the best approach. Doing so would support California’s commitment to advancing racial and economic justice as well as statewide postsecondary attainment. Read more from The Education Trust–West and The Institute for College Access & Success:


Many students lose access to financial aid after just one year of college when they are unable to meet academic standards attached to financial aid eligibility known as satisfactory academic progress.

Some institutions of higher education across the state impose satisfactory academic progress policies stricter than those required by federal law and thus impede student success and equity, and disproportionately affect historically minoritized students who would benefit most from a degree.


NEW: TICAS collection of papers examines how policymakers can make debt-free college a reality for all students. As the cost of college continues, efforts to address the ongoing crisis of high costs, high debt burdens, and decreasing confidence in the value of higher education continue; TICAS commissioned leading academics to write a collection of papers to shape the policy conversation about how to implement effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions to the college affordability crisis.

Collectively, the papers outline the current college financing landscape, discuss potential policy options for reducing reliance on debt, and examine specific components that could be addressed as part of a larger federal-state funding partnership to achieve debt-free college for all. Currently students looking to cover the average cost of attending a 4-year public college from families making $30,000 or less, need to spend 93% of their total family income and two-thirds respectively to cover the cost of a 2-year college.

These trends mean that the average debt held by bachelor’s degree recipients grew by about 56% over a 15-year period, well outpacing inflation. To build a debt-free future for all students, the federal government and states must work together. TICAS urges Congress to address the root causes of the student debt crisis by lowering college costs and providing sufficient grant aid so that students don’t need to take on unmanageable debt to earn a degree. Read more:

Read the report:

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Videos (show all)

SNEAK PEEK: Student Debt and the Class of 2020
Evidence-Based College Completion Programs Nationwide
RELAUNCHED: College Insight
TICAS revamps its website!




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