Sallie Mae has just released its annual report on “How America Pays for College”. Conducted since 2008, the report is based on interviews with students and parents currently in college concerning the sources used to pay for higher education. The overall trends show that parents are contributing less, and relying more on scholarships/grants and cost-cutting measures to pay for college. Over the next several blogposts CSCubed will breakdown some of the important findings of this report.
The recent spike in interest rates for federally subsidized Stafford Loans has captured a lot of media attention. As of July 1, the rates jumped from 3.4% to 6.8% for new loans. An article in today’s Daily Times of Delaware County includes commentary from one of our members, Dr. Wes Leckrone of Widener University (click here for article).
Journalist Danielle Lynch writes:
Wes Leckrone, an associate professor of political science at Widener University in Chester, said a group of students at Widener are concerned about college costs, too. Those students formed an organization called College Students Concerned by College Costs under his direction during an honors American government course in the fall 2012 semester.
She then mentions CSCubed’s advocacy positions:
Leckrone said the Widener student group advocated for a bill in Harrisburg in mid-April that would have made more Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants available for middle-income students. The Widener University students joined the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Harrisburg to advocate for Senate Bill 420. The bill is currently in the state Senate Education Committee. “We push for grants instead of loans because grants make college more affordable,” he said.
At the end of the day this is basically just politics as usual:
Leckrone said that even if the interest rates increase on the subsidized loans, the government is paying the interest on the loans while the students are in college. “At the end of the day this still is really a great program,” he said. Leckrone described the debate over this issue as “great political football.” Similar to McClean, he said this is just another example of things not getting done in Washington. “Republicans want to peg interest rates to the market and Democrats are arguing this is just another way college costs are increasing for the middle class,” he said.
Hear CSCubed’s Dr. Leckrone discuss the ramifications of the federal student loan interest hikes that have been triggered as of July 1. This interview is running on Philadelphia’s KYW NewsRadio today: