Whats the Problem With College Debt?

by Mike Acciavatti

This week I read a very interesting article which addressed the idea of college cost. It gave a perspective of not just the normal, run of the mill ideas on how to make college more affordable for your family. One such point was that the wealth gap in this country “isn’t just the broad chasm that separates the rich and poor, but the gap between the rich and everyone else.”

The article also states that the decreasing middle class is pushing more people lower in class than up. This is seen as a critical problem because a person who spends most of their “bread winning” years paying off a previous debt instead of spurring the economy with big purchases such as a house, car etc… is actually detrimental to the society as whole. The article states that making up a previous debt, though better than defaulting, is not necessarily a great thing for the economy of a country.

One potential solution is a work early program which a number of colleges have already instituted. The program creates a means of graduating high school with a fast track into college, whether that is by actual credits earned or at least a full game plan and a 4 year graduation strategy. In return for these things the students themselves must get good grades, have a strong work ethic, and be willing to work at least part time in college. Overall the problem addressed is the decades a person graduating from college spends simply paying off debt and not contributing. If we stop this we can stop the unending cycle of debilitating college debt.

Lowering College Textbook Cost

by Patrick Lamarra

When the California Gold Rush was in full swing by the 1850’s, many Americans were hoping to make it rich by striking that large pocket of gold unknown to anyone else. Some saw this as the easiest way to get rich at the time. Unfortunately for many, not as much gold was found as believed to have been but a different type of business did manage to thrive. In the words of Mark Twain, “During the gold rush it’s a good time to be in the pick and shovel business.” Here people saw a need created by the ever-growing consumers and exploited it. By looking at college education in a broad sense, one can find another group leeching on the back of the growing college cost. That group happens to be College textbook companies. For as long as colleges have been around, the textbook companies have been receiving cash and checks from students that range anywhere form $50-$600. A new strategy put forward in Maryland looks to end the pesky parasite of college textbook cost. Using electronic textbooks, the strategy looks to bring down the cost of college textbooks to zero. The strategy in itself would help to not only bring down the cost of attending college, but also help to revolutionize the way that college classes are taught. To learn more on the strategy to end college textbook cost read the article below.



CSCubed Member Ameer Sorrell in the Press

Ameer Sorrell, a member of College Students Concerned by College Costs, received a write up in The Daily Journal.


The story discussed our April 1, 2014 trip to Harrisburg for AICUP Student Lobby Day. Ameer and the rest of CSCubed was advocating for more grants to middle income college students.

Check out the story here.


A New Perspective

by Andrea Stickley

For the past two years, CSCubed’s focus has been on creating a new grant program for students in the middle-income class range because studies have shown that they’re incurring the most debt from college. A recent study conducted by a Dartmouth assistant professor found that about 41% of students left school with some level of debt. However, the surprising results came from the fact that it was the lower-middle-income class ($40,000-$59,000) have the most debt post graduation. In this study, these students had more debt than those from families earning between $60,000-$99,000. While this doesn’t downplay the fact that advocating for grants for students whose parents earn between $80,000-$110,000, it does give me pause to think about those other students who are affected by debt. Everyone out there, from any range of income level, can suffer from college debt. So let’s not forget about those other students outside of our range of focus that are incurring debt because one day they may start advocating for the same thing that we’re currently doing.


President Obama & College Costs

by Carly Wray

As tuition and fees went through the roof the past decade, it makes it a lot more difficult for middle class families to invest in a higher education for their future. Today the average student borrows and adds more debt than ever before. In a recent study, students today owe more than 29,000 dollars – which surpasses the average credit card debt for the first time in history. President Obama is expanding federal support to help students pay for college and helping students promote the shared responsibility in fighting rising college costs. The government has invested in student aid since the G.I. Bill to create reform in higher education funding. This will help students afford college and manage debt. To ensure college completion, we need more security for the middle class, college needs to be more accessible, affordable and attainable (White House).

Higher Education/The White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education

Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush say Higher Education is Out of Reach for Too Many

by Gary Masino

The Washington Post reports that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, two leading presidential candidates from opposing parties, spoke out on last month at a conference in Dallas about higher education becoming financially out of reach for too many young Americans. This is the third time over the past year that Bush and Clinton appeared at the same public event, offering a possible glimpse of the 2016 presidential election race. Bush asserts that technology could help make college more affordable in the U.S and more accessible to foreign students. He believes expanding the market of students could in turn lower the cost for our own students. Although Clinton agreed, she argued that technology is no substitute for the kind of learning that occurs in a classroom full of peers. “Technology is a tool not a teacher” — Clinton argues. Technology cannot teach creativity and critical thinking she explained. She is calling on the U.S. to “Redefine higher education” to provide more opportunities for people to gain vocational and technical skills, and to “reorient our social expectations” to encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.



College Affordability

by Jocelyn Reinecke

College affordability is a growing concern across the country. Many students are in more debt than ever before even when just getting a Bachelor’s degree. Many students are working more than one job to try and pay for all their debt. Students are even having a harder time trying to find a job after they graduate that will help them pay back their loans.

Some parents are worried that if something would happen to their children, all the debt would fall directly back on them. This has many parents extremely concerned. Many have bills to pay on their own with mortgages and other living expenses. Many times they can barely afford those bills alone. If they would have to pay back their child’s debt as well would put an even more burden on them. State and private school are both feeling the growth in tuition, causing it to be a nationwide problem. Governor Corbett’s bill or what we are proposing for CSC_Cubed would enormously help these students. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how Lobby Day will effect these vote on these bills. Many students would be greatly affected by it, and it would definitely help make college more affordable for middle income students who are trying to better their lives by getting a college education and would enormously impact their future.


Middle Class Student Debt Issue

by Wade Dickey

Students going to college are being bombarded with debt after they graduate. But it is the middle class people that are truly taking the hit. An article by NBC News says that it isn’t the low-income class students that are coming out with the most debt after college because they are eligible for grants, scholarships, and financial aid. And the higher class can most of the time pay for their children to go to school out of pocket. So that middle class stuck between them are the ones that don’t have enough money to pay out of pocket, and are not eligible for grants and financial aid like the lower class. So what can they do? The answer is that they are forced to pull out student loans if they want to go to college.

The article states, “Seven out of 10 college seniors who graduated in 2012 had student loan debt, averaging $29,400 per borrower, according to a separate study by the Institute for College Access & Success, up from $26,600 in 2011” (nbcnews.com). Student debt is not just going away, this is a problem that is increasingly becoming an issue for students and specifically middle class citizens. So something needs to be done to help these kids graduate with less debt in the state and federal government.

Reforming the Expected Family Contribution

by Marissa Daniels-Benditt  

In today’s world, earning a college diploma is considered the key to success. However, when the cost of college is too high and you’re swimming in debt after you graduate you don’t feel so successful. According to the New York Times, There may be a way to fix this.

A majority of Americans turn to the government for financial aid which is based off of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC formula uses the financial information a student provides on his or her FASFA to calculate the how much aid they are entitled to.

Believe it or not, the way to cut college costs is by eliminating Congress’ power over the EFC formula. Congress is trying to make the EFC more realistic but there are already so many problems with it that it is unable to be fixed. The New York Times article says that the EFC should be cut by 75 percent and by doing so it would force colleges to construct finanical aid packages without the “artificial price supports of inflated contribution numbers—and make paying for college less agonizing.”  

Do you think this could be a way to lower college costs? If this is a plausible way, do you think that it would pass? 

Keep in mind, lobbying expenditures by colleges, universities and other higher-education organizations have totaled more than a half-billion dollars over the past five years. Making them the 8th highest interest group attempting to influence Congress!