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

Open Textbooks Could Help Students Financially and Academically

As the price of college textbooks continues to increase, more students are opting to skip the books even if their grades suffer, a survey conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has found. 

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College textbook costs more outrageous than ever

College textbooks cost too much — and something needs to be done about it, according to a report from the advocacy group U.S. PIRG.

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Textbooks Are Too Expensive For College Students

College textbooks are too expensive and many students can't afford them. The Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group released a national survey Monday on textbook costs and alternatives.

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Majority Of Students Have Skipped Buying A College Textbook Because They're Too Expensive

The cost of college textbooks extends far beyond the bookstore, with students factoring in textbook expenses when they decide about everything from classwork to course loads, according to a report released Monday.

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Textbooks pose yet another price hurdle for students: Report

As if rising tuition, fees and housing expenses weren’t enough, a report out Monday shows textbooks pose another cost hurdle for college students.

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