That said, there is little chance federal loan programs will be heavily curtailed in the near future — though it was a little encouraging to see Perkins fade away — so we should try to make them better. And the way to do that may well be to make receipt of loans dependent on demonstrated ability to do real, college‐level work, in a field for which there is significant demand. Even though it may be a powerful predictor of delinquency, eligibility shouldn’t be conditioned on credit history, assuming that the goal of a federal loan program is to ensure that paying for college isn’t a barrier to the poor. It should be conditioned on ability and preparation.
How might this be done? Perhaps with these minimum qualifications: