AICUP Student Aid Advocacy Day Tomorrow!

We’ll be headed to Harrisburg tomorrow for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) Student Aid Advocacy Day. Please follow our live posts on Twitter (@CSC_Cubed)! We’re asking for more aid for middle income students – here’s our advocacy letter:

Lobby Day Material

Ohio Works to Make College More Affordable

John Carey, the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, has written a guest column outlining the steps that the Buckeye State has taken to make college more affordable.

Ohio has increased spending on higher education by 8.5% and frozen tuition and fees at state supported schools for two years. Additional money has been appropriated to help underprivileged and under-represented students pay for tuition at community and four year colleges.

One of the biggest sources of increased debt for college students is not graduating on time. Ohio has tried to address this by devoting resources to helping students get college credit in high school and to creating guidelines for more skilled counselors to keep students on track for a four year graduation once they are in college.

For more details on the Ohio plan please see the article.


PA Governor Corbett Won’t Support Budget w/out Ready to Succeed Scholarships

Steve Esack of the Allentown Morning Call reports that House Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature are proposing a “bare-bones $28.6 billion ‘budget scenario'” for 2014-15. The plan is a response to a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall faced by the Commonwealth by the end of the next budget cycle.

Among other things the House GOP proposal includes

Five percent cuts in all state departments — with the exception of reductions to basic education, special education, preschools, state-funded universities and the state’s college loan program.

According to Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, Governor Corbett

does not support a bare-bones budget that removes proposals he made in February to spend $400 million more for public education, create a $25 million college scholarship for middle class students and $5.4 million more to reduce the waiting list for disabled adults to find community-based homes.

CSCubed applauds the House GOP plan’s preservation of existing funding for education. However, with college tuition and student debt both undergoing dramatic increases we stand with Governor Corbett’s proposals to raise education funding. We are particularly supportive of the $25 million Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) program. RTSS has been CSCubed’s #1 priority for the past two years. For more information on RTSS please click here.

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.


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.

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!

Financial Aid for the Neediest Students is Down at State Universities

A story co-published in ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education shows that poor students are receiving less financial aid from public universities at the same time that wealthier students are given larger scholarship packages. This chart shows how these trends have developed since 1996:


There are several reasons for why this shift has taken place.

“For some schools, they’re trying to climb to the top of the rankings. For other schools, it’s more about revenue generation,” said Don Hossler, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University at Bloomington.

To achieve these goals, schools use their aid to draw wealthier students — especially those from out of state, who will pay more in tuition — or higher-achieving students, whose scores will give the colleges a boost in the rankings.

Private colleges have been using such tactics aggressively for some time. But in recent years, many public colleges have sought to catch up, doing what the industry calls “financial-aid leveraging.”

The math can work like this: Instead of offering, say, $12,000 to an especially needy student, a school might choose to leverage its aid by giving $3,000 discounts to four students with less need, each of whom scored high on the SAT, who together will bring in more tuition dollars than the needier student.

According to the article this trend may escalate as state universities are held more accountable for graduation rates.

State Spending on Higher Education Slowly Increasing

According to Education expert James Palmer of the Illinois State University “[h]istorically, funding for higher ed tracks the economy….As the economy gets better, state funding for higher education increases. That’s been the pattern.” That’s a good thing for colleges as the economy has begun to improve and state tax revenue has increased. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal shows that state financing for higher education started to increase last year after five years of overall state cuts nationwide.

Cash-strapped states across the country cut funding for public colleges and directed scarce resources to primary and secondary schooling, Medicaid and prisons. The budget squeezes sparked debate in state legislatures about whether public-university systems had been doing enough to control spending, including runaway administration costs at many schools.

State legislatures have begun to rethink those cuts. Indiana is increasing its spending by $500 million over the next two years (a 14.6% increase), New Hampshire’s governor has requested an $20 million in additional spending next year (a 37% increase) and Florida approved a budget with $314 million more for higher education (an 8.3% increase).

However, this trend has not been present in all states. “Budget hawks in some states argue university administrators haven’t cut wasteful spending enough and could do more. Others argue schools are doing a poor job of preparing students for life after college.”