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Informing College Choice and Helping More Americans Pay for College

This President believes that hard-working Americans shouldn't be priced out of a college education, that where someone starts shouldn’t determine where they end up. That’s why, last year, President Obama announced:

1. The College Scorecard, at

The College Scorecard has been designed with direct input from students, counselors, and families, so it provides the clearest, most accessible, and most reliable national data on college cost, graduation, debt, and post-college earnings for every college. With the College Scorecard, anyone can search for and choose schools that are low cost and serve students well.

With these new resources and policies, students can access financial aid to attend a school where they can fulfill their highest aspirations when they work hard.

2. A simpler, streamlined FAFSA, available starting on October 1, 2016

Completing the FAFSA is the first step students and families must take to access more than $150 billion of investments in federal financial aid. The FAFSA will be available 3 months earlier, and will allow students and families to complete the form with income and tax information that they filed last year. These changes allow for more students and families to have an earlier, simpler experience applying for and accessing federal financial aid.

These changes also ensure that better information about financial aid eligibility is more aligned with students’ decisions during the college application season. Students no longer have to wait until their families filed their taxes, because they can electronically retrieve tax information filed for the prior year. And with more accurate FAFSAs submitted, counselors and financial aid administrators can shift the time they spent verifying income and tax information to supporting students through the financial aid and college application process.

With the College Scorecard and earlier FAFSA, students should have a better sense of college costs when they are searching for, applying to, and choosing colleges than ever before. And hundreds of thousands more students will be able to access the financial aid they are eligible for, which can increase the likelihood that students will enroll in and complete college.

Organizations like yours can help ensure these resources get into the hands of those who could benefit.

Sign up to participate in a month of action in September to connect students with these resources. We will provide a set of materials to parties that sign up, including information on Up Next, a product of Civic Nation that supports Better Make Room, a partnership between the First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative and Civic Nation. Up Next is an evidence-based intervention that gives provides students across the country free personalized support on all things college through texting. The texts cover topics like taking college entrance exams, applying to a broad range of colleges and universities and for financial aid, transitioning to college and navigating new cultural environments, and making informed decisions about initial borrowing and repayment options for student loans. Research has shown that text-based campaigns can significantly increase the likelihood that students will complete the FAFSA, enroll in college immediately after high school, and persist in college after freshman year. Students simply text “COLLEGE” to 44044 to sign up for Up Next. For more free resources available now, visit

We ask that you please submit your responses by September 7, 2016, 11:59 PM. Note that this information may be shared publicly through White House Channels.