Stanford education professor Eric Bettinger has shown that one easy way to boost college attendance or planning for postsecondary education is to simplify the complex processes surrounding financial aid and college savings funds. In particular, he has found that:
- High school seniors whose families received help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and information about tuition costs for local universities were more likely to complete two years of college. (Data was collected three years after the assistance was provided.)
- Parents who received information about tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans and the required opening deposit of $50 were 22 percent more likely to open an account and 7 percent more likely to enroll in automatic monthly contributions.