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Report: How to make student loans easier and cheaper

Report: How to make student loans easier and cheaper
Students at UCLA in May 2012 (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The entire student-loan process should be overhauled to make it easier and cheaper for students to pay for college, according to a report released Tuesday.

Among the more than two dozen steps recommended by a private advocacy group are doubling the size of individual Pell Grants and simplifying application procedures.

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The report was issued by The Institute for College Access & Success, a well-respected group based in Oakland.

Many of the recommendations would involve no added cost, according to the group. Here's the report.

"The question is not whether we have the resources to get far more students to and through college, or whether we know what will make a difference," Pauline Abernathy, TICAS vice president, said in a statement. "It is whether we have the will to make the changes and investments needed to keep college within reach."

Though some of the suggestions appear to be common-sense steps to improve efficiency, others may stir opposition, such as as an income-based repayment program that could offer loan forgiveness after 20 years.

Among other recommendations: Give greater funding and other assistance to colleges that serve high numbers of low-income students, and "dramatically simplify" the student-loan application process by using Internal Revenue Service data detailing families' financial situations.

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Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter

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