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

SCOTUS Asked to Hear Student Loan Fees Case

Inside Higher Education published this piece about fees related to delinquent student loans:

The loan guarantor USA Funds plans to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court today seeking to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that barred the agency from collecting fees from a borrower who had defaulted on her student loan but started repaying it. The court’s decision was backed by the Obama administration and cheered by consumer advocates. But USA Funds believes the Supreme Court is poised to overturn an earlier ruling, in a case known as Auer v. Robbins, on which the appeals court largely based its decision in the USA Funds case.

New Data on Colleges!

The Federal government has released new data on American colleges in an effort to help students choose where they want to study. According to Inside Higher Education

These new data show publicly, for the first time, the share of a college’s former students who make some progress in paying down their federal loans within the first three years after leaving college. And they provide the first comprehensive look at how much students who receive federal loans and Pell Grants end up earning after they leave a specific college, both in the short term and long term.

The College Scorecard is available at





Pay It Forward, Pay It Back

by Mike Ciaverelli

Oregon proposed a program that would allow students to attend state colleges tuition free. This proposal, called the “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back” program would have students go through their higher education without the stress of taking out loans and racking up a lot of interest and massive debt. They would do this by paying the state back a small portion of their income over the course of about 20 to 25 years. After graduating, the student would pay 0.75% of their yearly income per year of schooling. This means a 4 year student would end up paying 3% interest for the time that they are paying. This interest would be put into a trust fund that would help other students in the future.

There are some problems with this proposed plan. One problem is the massive cost that the states would have to pay to start this program. Washington looked into the feasibility of this plan for their state and determined that it could cost as much as 1.4 billion dollars a year. Also, because the payment plan is based on the income of the students after they graduate, it may drive the top students away from state schools if they believe that a portion of their possibly higher income will be taken away from them over the next 20-25 years.

Although this plan is not perfect, it may be a step in the right direction to help students pay for their education without amassing a large amount of debt.

Should college students pay higher interest than banks?

by Stephen Fortin

College costs have been steadily increasing since the 1970’s. As of late, the costs have continued to sore at an even faster pace. Accompanying the rise in college education costs is student loan debt. In fact, the recent 2012 grad owes over $29,000 in student loans. This is up from more than just over $9,000 in 1993. With this increasing burden on America’s younger generation it would seem logical to lower the federal interest rate on student loans.

 Current students are paying about 4.66% interest on student loans, although there are many others who have interest rates which are locked in at above 9%. It seems obvious that higher education is vital to America’s economical future. Having a well educated public defines a society and an economy. Despite this however, lawmakers are rejecting proposals to lower federal student loan interest rates. In fact, government seems to believe banks should pay lower interest rates on federal loans than students. Banks pay a rock-bottom interest rate of only 0.75%.  College costs are a huge issue plaguing the prospective college student, but it seems the government prefers to see banks prosper than young Americans invest in their own futures.

 As many Americans struggle with paying back college debt the government seems to turn a cold shoulder. College costs and debt should never be a matter of politics; yet as many struggle to pay back debts, government struggles to see the problem in favoring banks over students.

 Quandt, Katie. “College Has Gotten 12 times More Expensive in One Generation.” Mother Jones. N.p., 3 Sept. 2014. Web. 21 Sept. 2014. <>.

IBR and the Need for More Help

by Brianna Englert

The income-based repayment program is a great response to the difficulties people face when pursuing a career in public services where usually a college degree is mandated.  A low income and high student loan truly brings out the question whether or not college is worth it? With this program capping the percentage of one’s income one can pay on student loans leans the answer towards yes; however, only federal loans are covered. Often the cost of education causes many students to take out private loans with high interest rates and there really is not much help for those people. Articles about people suffocating in their student debt and retirees losing financial stability because of student loans still have the worth of college being questioned.

Education is key. Education is the most consistent way to create a financially stable life and possibly family. The lottery is always a fall back. In order for America to retain its image in the world it needs to be filled with educated citizens furthering, promoting, and expanding its economic success.  The government needs to be aiding younger generations with programs such as the IBR. They also need to do more because the importance of furthering education should not be competing with a price. High school graduates should not be wondering, “is college worth it?”

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.

Why We Support PHEAA Middle Income College Grants

CSCubed is preparing for AICUP Student Lobby Day in Harrisburg on April 1. Our primary goal is to convince legislators to commit funding to a new PHEAA grant program that helps middle class students pay for college. Leading up to Lobby Day we’ll be providing more information as to why this new grant program is so important.

AICUP research provides the following information:


The middle class is hit hardest by student debt because they are not wealthy enough to pay for education out of pocket and not poor enough to qualify for programs like Pell Grants. Consequently the new middle income PHEAA grants that CSCubed supports will help a population that has the most student loan debt of any income category.