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.

 

http://www.redding.com/news/2014/mar/29/new-strategy-would-drop-college-textbook-costs-zer/

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/business/student-loans-weighing-down-a-generation-with-heavy-debt.html

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! 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/opinion/a-quick-way-to-cut-college-costs.html?_r=0

Higher Ed Money for the Middle Class

by Kyle Purchase

The issue with higher education is the humongous debt that follows after a student finishes school. In some cases student worry not just about the debt but how to raise money to even complete their education. Thomas Hundley, a political science major at Howard University, has been raising money at his law firm where he works to continue his chance of completion. What he hopes is that President Obama can aid middle-class families like Hundley’s and many other families across the nation.  CSCubed’s cause for debt relief of middle class families would also include getting more students  to enroll and succeed, rather than stop school and raising enough money to complete. Helping middle income student finance education, rather than having them potentially drop out to work to pay for future schools would help the cause of higher education.

http://articles.philly.com/2013-09-02/news/41665155_1_tuition-college-education-president-obama

Bill Aims to Eliminate Upfront College Costs

by Elizabeth Cohen

A bill introduced in Washington’s legislature proposes that students do not have to worry about paying their college tuition right away. Rather, after leaving school, they would pay a percentage of their income for up to a 25 year period. The “Pay It Forward” program can help a wide variety of people with different incomes afford college.  17 other states have introduced similar legislation. However critics of this program believe we should stick to the programs that already exist, like grants, and add money to those instead of trying to fund brand new programs. Still there are good points listed in the bill such as if a person’s income changes then the amount they pay per month would change as well. This bill would bring many changes to a student’s ability to pay for a college education.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140216/NEWS03/140219230

College Costs Out of Control

by Emily Bonney

In an article from Forbes Magazine, contributor Steve Odland provides some cold, hard numbers concerning the rising costs of college. Odland reminds readers that a there is a correlation between the amount of education a person has received and their average income. People without any college education earn almost $18,000 a year less than the US average wage, and less than half of what someone with a four year degree makes. While it is said that everyone has the same opportunities to receive this education, it is obviously not the case. Only 17% of the US population has earned an undergraduate degree, but the costs of college may change this in the future. Accounting for inflation, Odland states that while the consumer price index has risen 115%, but college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500% since 1985. Even with government aid, private funding, and scholarships, many students in today’s education system still have to take out loans which accrue interest. Odland attributes this rise in costs to the tenure policies, and the rise in spending on administration for the institutions rather than on professors or other capital expansions that would benefit the colleges.

College or Retirement?

by Mike Acciavatti

A recent article in U.S. News contained some disconcerting news:  college costs cause some people to choose retirement over an education for their children. The main problem is that parents do not want their children to be saddled with debut upon graduation due to the rising costs of higher education.  The article stipulates however that no matter how appealing a suggestion this may be parents SHOULD NOT risk their retirement future on college for their children.

The author states that the best strategy for dealing with college costs is to start saving early in a child’s life. The author states that simply putting the money away in a savings account is not necessarily the best option because it does not earn interest, causing it to not keep pace with rising inflation and rising costs of college.  Rather, the best way to save is to look at your state’s and school’s 529 or other savings plans.  By taking advantage of these programs the cost of college can be considerably less intimidating.

Every parent wants to give their child the best, and some would risk their own well being in retirement to ensure that. However, saving and investing, combined with scholarship and merit based financial aid, will ensure that both parents and children will have a safe financial future.

College Cost: A Universal Issue

by Patrick Lamarra

For those of you that enjoy the musical stylings in Les Miserables as much as I do, there is quote sung by Enjolras during the revolution that can help to inspire hope into our noble cause of lowering the college cost for Middle Income Families.  In the hope to inspire his men, Enjolras sings “We are not alone, the people too most rise.”  This quote can serve in a way to reflect what must be done by college students in regards to college cost.  CSCubed is not the only group that wants to challenge the rising college cost in America.  Students from Babson College, Emmanuel College, Merrimack College, and Newbury College all went to the Massachusetts’ State House the other day in order to lobby for more funding towards the ever growing college cost.  Students there were lobbying for $9 to $10 million to be added on to the state’s financial aid budget.  This stand by the students in Massachusetts offers a similar situation done by the students involved with CSCubed.  The push towards helping Middle Income families afford college is ever evident in modern day America.  If college students can band together and lobby for reforms in the area, much can be done about college cost.  But, the people most join together.  To learn more about the Massachusetts’ student led lobbying efforts click on the link below.

http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_25222858/students-appeal-help-college-costs?source=rss

Ready to Succeed Scholarships in PA

Increasing grants to middle income families has  been the primary legislative priority of CSCubed over the last two years. We have supported the Middle Income Student Debt Reduction Act that would dedicate $36 million a year to create a new PHEAA program for middle class families.

We’re pleased to also support Governor Corbett’s Ready to Succeed Scholarships that fund a similar program, albeit with less money – $25 million per year.

Please take the time to find your legislator and ask them to support more funding for middle income college grants!