Student Debt

Student Stories: The Devastating Impact of Some For-Profits

The post and video below are from CNNMoney

Students across the country are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for degrees that end up being completely worthless.

Many For-Profit College Companies Deliver Broken Promises and Failed Dreams

If you watch daytime or late-night TV, you’ve seen the slick, 30-second commercials that promise down-on-their-luck viewers a fairy godmother-like solution – a quick, affordable, college-level education that provides hands-on experience and positions students to land their dream job. If you want proof of the quality of these career education programs, the commercials continue, look no further than the myriad of success stories of their graduates.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe article, “For-profit colleges get harsh grades by former students: Graduates complain of onerous debt, unmet promises about careers,” paints a more realistic story of what actually happens to former students of these schools, such as:

Burned by a Career-Ed Program: Real and Raw Student Stories

The U.S. Department of Education plans to release its final "gainful employment" rule in October 2014. The draft rule, circulated by the department earlier this year, proposed cutting off access to federal financial aid for career-education programs (many of which are at for-profit colleges) whose graduates have high student loan default rates or high levels of student loan debt relative to their incomes. It is essential that the department adopt a final rule with strong protections for students.

During the month of May we asked students to submit their stories as public comments on the department’s draft “gainful employment” rule. Many of the student victims who have been exploited and defrauded by career-education programs offered compelling evidence of the need for stronger protections. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Low-Income Students Deserve a Real ‘CHANCE’ at Affordable College

Each year millions of Americans depend on Pell Grants to help make college affordable. Research has shown that need-based grant aid, like Pell Grants, increases college enrollment among low- and moderate-income students. But with college costs skyrocketing over the last three decades, Pell Grants have lost much of their purchasing power. In the 1980s, Pell Grants covered 77 percent of the cost of college at a four-year public college for low-income students. Today that share has dropped significantly to only 31 percent of the cost.

Twitter Chat Discusses How Students Can Impact what College #AccessMeans

Last week I AM NOT A LOAN hosted our second Twitter Chat on What College #AccessMeans. Joined by Young InvinciblesUSSA (U.S. Students Association) and Restore AccessUVa we talked about how those most affected by the college affordability crisis, students, can take action on their campus and in their states to stop state disinvestment from higher education and hold colleges accountable for keeping costs low.

Students Came Together to Talk About What #AccessMeans

Last week, I AM NOT A LOAN joined forces with Student Voice to host a conversation on what college #AccessMeans to those battling the college affordability and debt crises. Using the hashtags #StuVoice and #AccessMeans, students, recent grads, and activists took to Twitter to share their story, inspire others to do the same, and talk about ideas for action.

Once the clock struck 8:30 p.m. ET and the chat started, advocates jumped right in and started telling us what #AccessMeans. Many tweeted that #AccessMeans being able to follow their dreams so that they could break through barriers such as being a first-generation student, being student from a family with limited economic means, or growing up in an underserved community.

#AccessMeans Twitter Chats Give Us A Chance To Do Something We Really Need to Do: Talk

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Healthy, intelligent, and honest discussion can go a long way toward sustaining a movement and breaking down barriers to move mountains. But often, because of everyday-life-craziness, we sometimes forget to take the time to just talk to each other. It’s easy to get stuck in our silos and forget about all of the other people fighting in the college affordability movement. That’s why we’re excited to announce a series of Twitter chats focused on what college #AccessMeans.

Google Hangout With CFPB hosted by Higher Education Advocates Provides Tips on Managing Student Debt

On Tuesday, Young Invincibles and hosted a Google Hangout on the “Top 5 Tips for Tackling Your Student Debt.” Rohit Chopra, of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offered some of his best tips for managing student loan debt. In case you missed the great conversation, here’s a brief recap of some of the advice offered:

An Accounting Trick That Hurts Students

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Some members of Congress are trying to change the rules on how the federal government budgets for student loans. They call the new system “Fair Value Accounting” (FVA). Sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast. 

Pay it Forward Misses the Mark! Delayed College Tuition Payments are Merely Repackaged Student Debt


In the last 70 years, annual tuition and fee growth at four-year, public colleges has exceeded the rise of inflation. One of the primary reasons for rapid increases in college tuition is the decline in state funding for higher education. This trend of state disinvestment needs to be reversed, and it could be if the federal government, states, and institutions work together to share responsibility for college affordability.

Although some states have been taking a different approach. Legislation has popped up in a number states (Michigan, among the latest) that entices students with a sales pitch: zero down on college tuition now and pay it back later. What they leave out is that students may end up paying more back later. Even then, the main problem with these so-called “Pay it Forward” (PIF) proposals are that they don’t address what students really need, which is for the cost of college to be affordable from the outset.

#AccessMeans a lot to students facing the student debt crisis

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Since we launched the #AccessMeans campaign last month, we've received dozens of photo submissions, hundreds of comments, and a host of tweets all telling us what #AccessMeans in education today. We're inspired and amazed by the conversation you all have started and wanted to share some of these insightful reminders of what real #AccessMeans, should be, and hopefully will be. 

Hey Richie Rich, How About Making College Cheaper?

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Cha-ching! According to a new study, higher education endowment investment returns averaged an 11.7 percent gain in fiscal year 2013 compared with a decrease of 0.3 percent the previous year. There are now some 82 colleges and universities with endowments in excess of $1 billion each.

The wealthiest institutions of higher education — the 82 with over $1 billion in endowment assets each — spent out an average of only 4.8 percent of their endowments last year. That’s low given that all other foundations are required to spend out 5 percent as a condition of retaining tax-exempt status and many spend far more. Higher ed gets an exception. A difference of 0.2 percent may not sound like much, but if just the richest 82 institutions of higher education spent out 5 percent of their endowments last year, some $600 million more in student financial aid could have been made available — without costing taxpayers a penny. Think about how many lives could be changed.

The Federal Government is Profiting off of Your Student Debt

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report revealing that the federal government stands to make $66 billion in profits from student loans that originated between 2007 and 2012.

Soon following, a group of nine Senators strongly responded to the report, advocating for policies that address student loan debt, loan refinancing, and lower interest rates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), states, "This is obscene. The government should not be making $66 billion in profits off the backs of our students. The report issued today reinforces what we already knew - instead of investing in our children and their futures, the government is squeezing profits out of our young people and adding to the mountain of debt they will spend their lives struggling to repay."

Senator Warren to Introduce Bill to Allow Student Borrowers to Refinance Loans

Do you have a mortgage or car loan and wish to refinance to a lower interest rate? Congratulations, you have that consumer protection. But do you know who doesn’t? Student loan borrowers. Luckily, new legislation soon to be introduced in the U.S. Senate may change this.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently announced her plans to introduce a bill that will allow students to refinance their federal student loans to the lower interest rates under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. A measure that has the potential to save student loan borrowers thousands of dollars over the course of a loan’s life.

Wisconsin State Legislation to Tackle Student Loan Debt

There is exciting news in the Badger State. Wisconsin policymakers are attempting to lower student loan debt.

As reported by One Wisconsin Now, the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act (SB 375) introduced by state senators Dave Hansen and Cory Mason would:

Bill Will Create Loan Free College for Low-Income Virginia Residence

With the recent good news that the University of Virginia (U.Va) has once again prioritized financial aid for its lowest-income students, a promising bill in Virginia has emerged that will make a larger, statewide commitment to college affordability.  

Introduced by Virginia Delegate Rob Krupicka, Virginia College for All (formerly, the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program) would offer no-loan guarantees to low-income students and interest free loans to students of middle-income families who graduate within 150 percent of the time to standard completion (6 years for a traditional four year college and 3 years for a two year college).

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Talks College Affordability on Twitter Chat Hosted by Student Voice

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan moderated a special one-hour Twitter chat to gather feedback from students and other concerned Americans about college access and affordability.

Arne Duncan wants to hear the #StuVoice in upcoming Twitter chat

Student voice is important. And, it’s needed in conversations on what to do about the country’s college affordability crisis. Amplifying those voices is why I AM NOT A LOAN exists. So we’re definitely excited about the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement to let these voices be heard through a platform we use to communicate with students every day—Twitter.

New Report Finds Student Loan Debt Increases by Over Ten Percent

A report shows that student loan debt has increased 10.5 percent in just one year. According to The Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), from 2011 to 2012, average student loan debt rose from $26,600 to 29,400.

Senate Democrats Propose Major Changes to Student Loans

Libby Nelson from Politico reports that Senate Democrats are proposing some major changes to student loans – among them include “forcing colleges to pay the Education Department if they have high default rates and allowing student debt to be wiped out in bankruptcy” and “calling to revive a dormant grant program for poor students that could give the federal government more influence over state higher education policy.”

CFPB New Rule to Oversee Student Loan Servicers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new rule that puts the seven largest non-bank student loan servicers under its supervisory jurisdiction. Student loan servicers are third-party companies such as Sallie Mae, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet Servicing and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency that manage borrowers account and process their monthly payments. Under this new rule, they will join banks that service student loans in being regulated by the CFPB.

UVA Student Claps Back Against Misguided Daily Progress Editorial on Escalating Costs of AccessUVa

Earlier this month, the Daily Progress assessed that the University of Virginia (UVa) is “at the mercy of forces beyond its control” and that escalating costs of UVa’s financial aid program, AccessUVa, “cannot be sustained.”

Brendan Wynn, a student at the University who has been outspoken about the cuts to AccessUVa and one of the leaders of the Restore AccessUVa movement, has hit back with a letter to the editor, which was published over the weekend

U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Experts Debate “Gainful Employment”

The U.S. Department of Education sat down with higher education experts to continue debating “Gainful Employment,” a rule that looks at the successes and failings of career education programs. The Education Trust’s Lynn Jennings answers important questions about the rule.

New York Students Protests Citibank & CUNY for Taking Advantage of Students Through Card System

Last week at 250 Broadway, NYC, New York Students Rising were protesting outside of Citibank to protest a card system that allows Wall Street to skim off of CUNY students.

Forbes: Low-Income Students Tell About the Challenges They Face at College

In light of the work we are doing to reverse UVa’s decision to cut funds from it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa, it is worth highlighting this Forbes article. This piece sheds light on the various factors and stressors that affect low-income students at colleges.

How Much Impact Does Student Debt Really Have on the Economy?

Student loan debt is rapidly approaching $1.2 trillion. What’s worse is that, with little reliable data available about the impact of student loan debt, we can't assess the real effect it's having on the economy. Regardless, we do know that student debt isn't good for sustaining a growing nation.

Freshly-minted, young graduates should be leaving college ready for the workforce and to help feed our thriving economy. Instead, burdened with high amounts of student debt, they usually don't have the extra cash to thrust back into the economy.

U.S. Dept. Of Ed College Ratings Hearing, George Mason

George Mason University recently hosted the U.S. Department of Education’s second of four college affordability forums to discuss the Obama administration’s proposed college ratings system. At the event, students expressed the same concerns to the department that thousands of current and prospective college students, like me, have across the nation: Students want more data to assess our financial future before enrolling in college and taking on massive amounts of student loan debt. To start, these data need to include information about the net price of college, the average incomes of graduates in different fields, and data on internship placement rates.

The Federal Government profits from loans but does little to help students with cost

At the same time that we have been urging the federal government to fix the student loan crisis, it has been making money from our loans—and lots of it. Recent numbers tell us that the U.S. Department of Education has cashed in $42.5 billion of profit from federal student loan payments last year. Meanwhile, national student debt levels have risen to $1.2 trillion and education funding has been reduced to its lowest level since 2001. Instead of profiteering on the backs of students, the government can and should do more to help fix the student debt crisis and ensure college is affordable.

On Black Friday, Look Into “Deals” You Can Get on Student Loan Payments

While you’re searching for deals on a TV or bread maker, don’t forget to look into what kind of deals you can get on your student loan payments.

Stand With Students at the University of Virginia for AccessUVa

Although students were protesting in silence a mere 12 days ago outside of the Board of Visitors meeting, the message they sent to the board was loud, clear, and heard by all: Students at UVa will not stand by quietly while the Board cuts important programs like AccessUVa, a program at the university that represented a clear commitment to socioeconomic diversity.

In the fight for affordability UVa regresses, while Washington & Lee pushes forward

When the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, cut its financial aid program over the summer, students and alumni spoke out against such regressive actions. With a $5 billion endowment that has more than doubled over the past decade, why would the University need to cut grant aid to poor students?

University of Virginia Students Take Administrators to Task on Priorities at AccessUVa Town Hall

The University of Virginia’s Student Council co-hosted a panel on campus with United Students for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity. The panel was made up of a number of informed students and high-level administrators, who discussed concerns that the students had with the University's commitment to low-income students -- particularly with changes made to the school’s no-loan policy for low-income students, AccessUVa.

Shaun: “Students From Poor Backgrounds Can Revolutionize the World; Give Us a Chance”

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Shaun's story.

Don’t Pay It Forward

The sales pitch is enticing: Let students go to college for "free" and ask them to pay later by taxing a percentage of their incomes once they have jobs. The money coming in from graduates, then pays "forward," covering college costs for current students and alleviating the fear of debt that keeps many college-qualified students from even applying and that discourages college graduates from pursuing careers that may not have high salaries.

Daniel’s Story: “Diminishing AccessUVa Will Further Disenfranchise A Dire Segment of the Population”

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Daniel's story.

As College Tuition Rise in States Like Utah, Policymakers Must Invest in Students

College costs are on the rise as state and federal governments are financially disinvesting in higher education. In Utah, for example, over the past five years college costs rose more quickly than in any other state. Utah’s tuition increased by a whopping 30 percent, that’s more than the already large national average of 27 percent.

George Washington University Lies About Offering Need-Blind Financial Assistance

George Washington University found itself in hot water recently when the college newspaper reported that the University has been lying about it's admission policy being need-blind.

Student Debt Crisis Announces Winners of #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project

Last week, our friends over at Student Debt Crisis announced the winners of the #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project. The winners of the three videos are being awarded $500 each -- a sum which represents the average monthly student loan bill.

Shayna’s Story: “I Am Thousands Of Dollars In Student Debt And Have No Degree”

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them.

That’s why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake. So many students are able to give back because of AccessUVa. Read Shayna's story. 

CFPB Report Finds Private Student Loan Borrowers Have Real Concerns

As college tuition and fees continue to rise, more students are finding that they have to turn to private loans - which are usually tagged with higher interest rates and less consumer protections than federal loans - in order to finance their degree. As of July 2012, about 850,000 private loans were in default.

This new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), summarizes roughly 3,800 complaints on private student loans received from October 1st, 2012 to September 30th, 2013. The most common complaints reported by students were having difficulties making advanced payments on their loans

“99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaboration Film” Highlights Student Debt Crisis

Participant Media has helped produce “99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaboration Film”, which details the gripping accounts of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Student debt-- something 1.2 trillion of the 99% are facing-- is a main focus of the documentary. It’s a must-see film telling the story of how disenfranchised youth, many of whom have debts they can’t pay, created a powerful voice for the 99 percent.

Life After College: Where Did All Of That Student Debt Come From Anyway?

Graduating from college sure was exciting…until you remembered you had to pay back those loans.

If Congress Doesn’t Stop the Default, Student Loans Will Get Even More Expensive

Nothing seems to be going well in Washington. The government has been shut down for 16 days without end. To make matters worse, the U.S. could default on its debt tomorrow if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. A default would be a financial nightmare, driving the U.S. into uncharted territories that could harm the entire world.. Interest rates on most types of loans are projected to skyrocket.  And what that means for those of us with student loans is critical.

Three Members of Virginia’s House of Delegates Co-Sign & Send Letter to UVA Vice Rector on AccessUVA

Last week, three members of the Virginia House of Delegates -- Rob Krupicka, Scott Surovell, and Alfonso Lopez -- co-signed a letter to UVa’s Vice Rector, William H. Goodwin Jr. to “strongly encourage a reassessment of the Board of Visitors’ decision to scale back the AccessUVa financial aid program.”

Flawed “Pay it Forward” Program Increases Overall Cost of Higher Education; Bad for Students

A coalition of groups are calling upon the state and federal policymakers to increase need-based student aid as well as state support for public institutions, and nix ideas like “Pay It Forward”, which will shift the cost of higher education even further onto students and families by restructuring how it is that they will be paying for their education once they graduate.

Natalie: “AccessUVa Is Important and Needs to Remain Funded—if not, MORE Funded”

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Natalie's story.

Student Loan Forgiveness: A remarkable program with little recognition

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: A mysterious phrase in which few college graduates with student loans are familiar.  Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, is a federal loan forgiveness program designed to aid individuals working in public service, including teachers, firefighters, local government officials, and non-profit employees. This program is designed only for those who borrowed through Direct Loans (federal loans) and not from private lenders, such as banks. Upon registering for PSLF, each individual establishes an Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR), which allows you to limit your monthly loan repayment based on your level of income. Those with high student debt relative to their income will receive a lower IBR.  Through this program, each person will gradually pay off their student debt through their individualized repayment plan for ten years, after which your remaining loans are forgiven.

Samantha, AccessUVa Recipient: Taking AccessUVa Away Will Hurt a Large Number of Deserving Students

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Read Samantha's story. 

#OutWithStudentDebt Video Project to Award $500 Each to Three Top Video Submissions

Led by Student Debt Crisist, a number of groups have decided to collaborate on the #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project – an initiative designed to help shed the stigma of shame and embarrassment that comes along with the burden of student loan debt.

Life After College: How To Make The Most Of Your Student Debt

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Student debt seems inevitable these days. Everyone knows what it's like. But we also know how not to let it ruin your life. 

Students Create Firestorm at The University of Virginia With ‘Voices of AccessUVa’ Gathering

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During the Board of Visitors meetings, students spoke out against the board’s shameful decision to cut funding from AccessUVa, the university’s financial aid program, and its no loan policy for low-income students. Students spoke about how AccessUVa impacted their lives and what the long-term impact of this decision could look like. The concern many students share is that UVA - an institution with a reputation for lacking diversity -  will limit access to students who look like them.

Despite “Truth in Cost” Approach, College Still Costs Too Much For Students

The “truth in cost” approach, recently announced by Converse College and Ashland University (and the subject of this blog post), is in line with President Obama’s plan for a college rating system that would help families get a clearer picture of how much a college costs relative to its quality. While that’s a win for transparency, it neglects to address the larger issue of college affordability.

Catherine, UVA Class of 2010: “AccessUVa Allowed Me To Graduate Debt-Free”

Catherine, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 and was an AccessUVa recipient shares here story with I AM NOT A LOAN.

UVa’s Vice Rector is Out of Touch With Reality: Low-Income Students Should Not be Crippled with Debt

As many of you may know, early in August, the University of Virginia’s (UVa) Board of Visitor (BOV) – the governing board for the institution - voted to slash overall funding for AccessUVa, the school’s financial aid program, and completely eradicate the no-loan policy for low-income students in the program. Vice Rector of the Board, William Goodwin, justified the cuts by proclaiming that low income students shouldn’t get an advantage wealthier students don’t have, “they all graduate with the same degree”, as reported in this Daily Progress article.

Hannah, UVA Class of 2010: “Opportunities Would Never Have Presented Themselves Without AccessUVa”

Hannah of UVA's Class of 2010 shares her story, and explains why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake.

William, UVA class of 2014: AccessUVa helped me beat the odds

Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them.  That’s why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake. So many students are able to give back because of AccessUVa; and some have shared their stories with us. Here’s one we’re sharing with you

Grad Students Especially Burned on Congress’ Bad Student Loan Deal

This summer, the I AM NOT A LOAN campaign fought numerous proposals claiming to be long-term “solutions” for college affordability. Most really were just long-term disasters that would only make things worse for students. In the end, students got stuck with the Student Loan Certainty Act, a “compromise” by which the government stands to make billions off the backs of students. The deal lowered interest rates for subsidized Stafford loan borrowers now, but will also allow them to rise way too high in the long run—making it even harder for students to repay their loans. Even worse, the interest rate cap is higher for graduate students; and they are speaking out.

Eugene Resnick, UVA Class of 2010: University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors Have Learned Nothing

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As the campaign to restore funding for AccessUVa (the University of Virginia's financial aid program) turns up the heat this week, I AM NOT A LOAN will be posting stories and comments from those who have benefited from the program directly. Today's story is by Eugene Resnick, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010

I’m Standing Up for Students Like Me

Like many students, my family couldn’t afford to pay high tuition costs when I was ready to go to college. Facing the possibility of accumulating mountains of debt at other schools, I chose the University of Virginia because its AccessUVa financial aid program gave working-class students like me the chance to attend and graduate debt-free. Thanks to AccessUVa’s no-loan policy, I graduated from University of Virginia with very little debt and was able to go straight to graduate school.

I am not from Virginia, but AccessUVa still matters to me

A lot of people may wonder why those of us not affiliated with the University of Virginia or a Virginia resident care about the bad decision by the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors to cut funding to their AccessUVa program; a program that kept debt low for their students. We care because the fight for college affordability must take on any and every initiative that keeps students' debt-free.

The Bright Spot in President Obama’s Plan on Student Debt and College Affordability

Reviews for President Obama’s agenda has been mixed, but we’ll take a look on the bright side: by creating a new rating system for colleges based on affordability and student performance, the President’s new plan intends to provide the financial help that many of our students deserve, while also providing the kick that many colleges may need to shape up.

Working through college still not enough to cover high cost

A new survey by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine reveals that while many college students are paying for most of their expenses, just a handful of students are able manage the burden of high tuition cost.

According to the survey, only 18 percent of students pay their way through college. The rest? 41 percent of students in the survey reported relying on financial aid – which includes student loans - to pay for their education, 16 percent of students said they finance their education through scholarships, and only 22 percent reported that their parents pick up the tab. On the other hand, 60 percent of respondents said their parent did, however, pay their monthly cell phone bill.

These are the faces of our student debt crisis.

Last week, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act into law, effectively guaranteeing potentially sky-high interest rates for future students. However, even though Congress made the wrong deal for students, student loan interest rates are really the symptom of a much larger disease. College costs too damn much! And, that’s the real issue affecting millions of Americans.

University of Virginia Overhauls AccessUVA for Low & Middle Income Students, Creates More Debt

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Last week, the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors – a Governor-appointed board responsible for long-term planning for the University – voted to end Access UVA, and will force low-income program participants to take out nearly $30,000 in student loans to attend UVA.