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Charters and Choice

How can we give students options when their public schools are failing them?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

College Access

College: Can't afford not to go, can't afford to go...

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

 

The Dropout Dilemma

What are the real costs of dropping out?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

No Child Left Behind

What exactly is NCLB and how is it effecting our education system?

Overview

Pros and Cons

What's Next?

Candidate Perspectives

Early Childhood Education

How do we ensure that all children are prepared to enter kindergarten?

Overview

In Focus: Head Start

Candidate Perspectives

Teachers

Why are we struggling to recruit and retain teachers? What reforms do the candidates propose to solve the teacher shortage and improve their working conditions?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

School-to-Work

With a struggling economy, should lawmakers place further emphasis on federally-funded school-to-work programs? Moreover, do they work?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

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College: Can’t Afford to Go, Can’t Afford Not to Go

Given the failing economy, rise in college tuition costs, and unequal primary and secondary education, college has become less accessible for many Americans. The average college degree from a private college costs $23,000 a year, and the average public university costs $6,000 annually. While college is becoming less and less affordable, it is also becoming more necessary as the way to earn a living wage in an increasingly globalized economy. According to Forbe’s.com, the average income of a college graduate is $52,200, with 2.2 percent unemployment. The average income of high school graduates is $30,400, and the level of unemployment nearly doubles. From a strictly economic perspective, college degrees are vital tools for one’s financial livelihood. That being said, how can we make college not only more affordable for students already likely to attend college, but also make college a reality for non-traditional students?

money

         
 

The Issues:

Student Loans

Grants

AmeriCorps

Undocumented Students

Returning Troops

Community College

 

Student Loans Return to top

The Issue: How do loans affect students' economic value?

 
As college is not accessible to everyone and a great number of American college age students are unable to afford a college education and loans serve as a way in which they can sponsor their education. Student loans are the primary source of student aid today and are an amount of money that is borrowed from a source whether it is governmental or private and then paid back usually following the completion of school or ending of college enrollment. Currently, about 2/3 of four year college students graduate with debt. (Source: American Student Assistance)

Statistics about Student Loans

- By 2014, undergraduate enrollment in 4-year colleges is expected to increase by 16%, while enrollment in 2 year colleges is expected to increase by 14%
Source: America’s Student Loan Providers

- In 2004—2005, lenders provided about $14 billion in private loans, a 734% increase from a decade earlier. Private loans typically carry higher interest rates and less flexible payment options than federal loans
Source: The College Board

-In 2003—2004, private loans were taken out by
– 5% of students in public four-year colleges (compared to 43% who took out federal loans)
– 11% of students in private 4-year colleges (compared to 54% federal)
– 15% of students at for-profit colleges had private loans (compared to 80% federal)
Source: American Student Assistance

For more information on loans click here.

 

Grants Return to top

The Issue: Are grants a viable and important way for students to attend collge?

 
 

Grants are an additional way for college bound students to fund their college education. Grants are one of the best ways in which to pay for a college education because they do not have to be paid back, it is essentially “free money”. The government offers various grant programs, in particular, Pell grants. Pell grants are grants awarded by the government usually to low income undergraduates and are dependent on a student’s expected family contribution (EFC) as calculated through the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA).

- In 2005-2006 there were 91,617 total eligible federal Pell Grant applicants
- In 2005-2006 87,441 applicants received a Federal Pell Grant
- the average Federal Pell Grant awarded in 2005-2006 was $2,492

All statistics from Pell Grant website.

For more information click here.

AmeriCorps Return to top

The Issue: Is AmeriCorps an important and valuable way in which to fund education?

AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides individuals with the opportunity to engage in service to meet the needs of people in various communities. Individuals involved in AmeriCorps work with non-profits and other public agencies. AmeriCorps provides an opportunity for people to gain experience in service and acquire an educational credit (money) toward post-secondary education or post-secondary loans.

For more information on Americorps, click here.

 
 

Undocumented Students Return to top

The Issue: Should undocumented students be allowed admission to college, or provided in-state tuition for public universities?

 
  What’s the deal right now?
Under the current situation, funding for college for undocumented students remains one of the largest barriers for access. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid through loans or Pell grants. In 2007, Congress vetoed the DREAM ACT, a proposed legislation granting legal status to long-term undocumented U.S. residents who wished to attend college. Such legislation would enable approximately 65,000 graduating high school students to not only legally attend college, but to be eligible for financial aid. The DREAM Act represents the most potent possibility for undocumented students currently.

For more information, click here.

 
 

Returning Troops Return to top

The Issue: How do the 1.5 million troops currently serving in Iraq afford college when they return home?

 
  What’s the deal right now?
Under the old bill, troops received approximately $9,900 a year for educational benefits for four years to be used within ten years of service, and requires a $1,200 payment upon the beginning of service. This payment only covers between 60-70% of the average cost of college.

The new G.I. Bill, passed in Congress on May 22 2008, eliminates the buy-in requirement, and extends benefits to be applied within fifteen years of service. Furthermore, the new bill directly pays the full tuition of education at any public school in the country and many private schools (tuition is capped at the most expensive public school in the state). Furthermore, students are granted a small monthly living stipend and $1,000/year for books and supplies. A major objective of this bill is recruitment: to create incentive for civilians to join the military.

For more information, click here.

 
 

Community College Return to top

The Issue: Nearly one half of all undergraduates in the United States attend community college.  How can community colleges be strengthened in order to provide additional means for increased career opportunities?

 
 

What’s the deal right now?
Currently community colleges are potent grounds for increasing college access for under-served students, minority students, migrants, first-generation college students, and low-income students.   Community colleges provide many entry paths for career or educational opportunities with lower financial barriers and more flexible in terms of providing paths for success for students of all abilities, ages, interests, and backgrounds.  How can community colleges be better utilized as a means of closing the k-20 achievement gap?

 

See Candidate Perspectives on these issues

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