Analysis estimates public colleges would enroll up to 22 percent more students, mostly at open-enrollment institutions. A quarter of the gain would come at the expense of private colleges, particularly less selective ones.
The federal financial aid application now allows students to use existing federal tax data, designed to inform families earlier about their available aid. But student advocates say colleges may undercut progress by moving up their own deadlines for students.
As bipartisan consensus emerges in Congress that colleges should share the burden of students who can't repay loans or find jobs, higher ed leaders consider how such a plan would work and whether it would discourage them from educating the disadvantaged.