Affordable Higher Education

A college degree is practically a necessity these days, not only for the individual student, but for the economic and social health of the country. But as states cut budgets, and grant aid has diminished, students are relying on loans to pay for college.

It has not always been this way. Twelve years ago only one-third of college graduates from four year public colleges needed to borrow money to attain a college degree and graduates who borrowed carried around $12,000 of debt on average. Today more than two-thirds of graduates have federal student loan debt and carry over $23,000 on average. The percentage of students with $25,000 worth of private student loan debt has increased, from 5% in 1996 to 24% in 2008. 

A college degree must remain within reach for families of modest means, and affordable over the long term for the borrowers and parents in repayment. We work to increase student grant aid, make debt levels more manageable, and protect students as consumers from practices that contribute to educational debt.  

We need robust grant programs on a state and federal level, a simpler system of student aid that actively encourages student and parental participation, and stronger safeguards for student borrowers in repayment.  

Also, we can lower student debt by protecting student consumers. College students pay unjustifiably high amounts for college textbooks each year. And those who rely on credit and debit cards to help offset day to day costs of education, or to access their financial aid disbursements, can get slapped with penalty fees and terms that take advantage of them.

Issue Updates

Report: High Textbook Prices Have College Students Struggling

The soaring cost of college textbooks is affecting students throughout the nation, to the point where some forgo purchasing books, despite the fact their grades could be in jeopardy.

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Textbooks and access codes financially burden students, university should adopt open textbooks

College textbooks notoriously break the bank of our nation’s youth and SRU students are no exception to that rule.

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WashPIRG starts affordable textbook campaign

WashPIRG kicked off its affordable textbooks campaign Monday morning with a press conference releasing the WashPIRG Foundation’s national survey results on textbook affordability.

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News Release | the Student PIRGs | Higher Ed

STUDENTS APPLAUD CALL TO ACTION ON COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY

Statement of Student PIRGs Higher Education Associate Ethan Senack on President Obama’s State of the Union speech

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Options Don't Stem Textbook Woes

Despite some recent improvement in textbook market options and transparency, rising prices continue to hinder students who, in the worst scenarios, are turning down classes because the materials are too expensive.

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