Talk is Cheap. College Isn't.


February 23, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Talk is cheap when it comes to politicians' promises, but one thing that remains expensive is a college education. From vetoing a scholarships bill that would free up $721 million for community colleges and scholarships for low-income students, to killing the Senate Bill 180 which would require the New Mexico Lottery to provide $41 million to a college scholarships fund there has been no resolution to the budget stalemate since July 1, 2015. New America Higher Education has one resolution: out with the old, in with the new. That means removing federal loans, federal tuition vouchers, Pell grants, and tuition tax credits.

Talk is cheap when it comes to politicians' promises, but one thing that remains expensive is a college education. From vetoing a scholarships bill that would free up $721 million for community colleges and scholarships for low-income students, to killing the Senate Bill 180 which would require the New Mexico Lottery to provide $41 million to a college scholarships fund there has been no resolution to the budget stalemate since July 1, 2015. New America Higher Education has one resolution: out with the old, in with the new. That means removing federal loans, federal tuition vouchers, Pell grants, and tuition tax credits.

In their policy paper, "Starting from Scratch: A New Federal and State Partnership in Higher Education," New America Higher Education expressed their vision to reconstruct and repair the "broken system of financing higher education." The team plans to scrap the archaic system and replace it with a "federal-state financial partnership" where the government would dole money to states, which would go to colleges and universities - taking into account important factors such as enrolled low-income students. Students would only have to pay their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the state would be held accountable for student outcomes such graduation rates and securing employment. In addition to lowering tuition, the cost of living expenses such as room and board, transportation, and childcare costs would be lowered.

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States would have to maintain their current funding as provided in their individual budgets, match federal funding by 25 percent, and be responsible for performance and costs. There would be a bonus to states that contribute more than expected and also, a bonus for colleges who enroll more than 25 percent of low-income students. What's the catch? The plan would cost roughly $38 billion annually, and states would have to contribute an additional $17.9 billion. The existing system has left about 7 million borrowers in default with their student loans and the report claims that "going to college has left them in a much worse position than if they had never enrolled."

The partisanship disaster continues as colleges and universities haven't received "operating money from the state since July 1," according to Celeste Bott of the Chicago Tribune. The MAP grant provides up to $5,000 in financial aid to students who demonstrate need, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Some claim the scholarships bill would snag money from social service providers who provide care for the state's "most vulnerable residents," or that states simply do not have the money to spend. Governor Rauner agrees that the school funding formula needs to be changed.

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Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



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Mel C  on  3/2/2016 2:12:30 PM commented:

As a middle class mother of three Caucasian children, I hate the difficulties going to college presents for a family. I believe that any type of government help should be based on GPA, Test scores, Community Service, recommendations from school staff and the character of the student. There are too many ways that people can fudge their taxes to get more financial help, while hard working folks get nothing but debt. Even looking for scholarships is "need-based" in most cases. Looking for scholarships for our kids has been like slamming my head against the wall. Most of them are for kids who's families make less than $50,000 cumulatively per year. Not many two income families are in that bracket. Lots of intelligent, deserving kids want to go to college, no matter their financial background.

Marie K  on  2/28/2016 6:32:30 AM commented:

A couple of points...for a country that is promoting 'equality', this will turn that around quickly for elite colleges! Those who can afford elite colleges, will go to those elite colleges while the free tuition is at the other colleges. Secondly, there's a psychology of receiving something for free vs paying for it (even a small amount) and the work, effort and appreciation that goes into it.

Eliz j  on  2/28/2016 3:23:09 AM commented:

I was told by my loan officer if I'm currently going to school w out working and being financially stable living w my underprivileged mother in a small trailer in a trailer park barely able to afford $125 a mth lot payment. The trailers taxes are $15 a year so u know the age and shape I live in. We need so many repaires and help however we live in a one stop light town w no jobs weekly ever in the paper or local. I cannot afford to pay a dime to anything we can't afford light bulbs and trash bags or laundry soap or tooth paste or soap or shampoo it's terrible we can't afford toilet paper . how can I pay on my loans?? Please tell me and I'm considered disabled I'm also in debt well mother and I thousands to hosp bills ??? Idk what to do I guess I'll get kicked out its my first semester and I see I'm getting in trouble already for default I guess it seems so but the loan says its OK that's not liberty university tho that's a loan co. Please explain how this works its my first attempt and first in my family to go to college and Now I see y it is too good to be true I knew it Thanks

Shar G.  on  2/25/2016 9:16:09 PM commented:

There are diligent and studious students who work very hard and excel in school, yet they may come from low income households. Their chances of realizing a full college experience is not always possible so having financial aid serves its purpose and helps tremendously as they are deserving students. However, I think that the maximum to qualify for financial aid should increase as it does not benefit middle class families (driving force of our nation). The middle class dilemma is not fair. We are deemed to make to much to receive aid but do not have the means to pay out of pocket. The system is mis-structured. I did not stay on campus just so I reduced the cost of college education.

Jacob S.  on  2/25/2016 12:09:58 AM commented:

I think I speak for most middle income families when I state that my family's EFC is in fact grossly overestimated to the point that I receive literally zero aid except for the federal loans which aren't even enough to cover one semester worth of full costs for in state residency. My parents simply don't have the money and neither do I. So I'm forced to try taking out loans. It's an unfair system and a lot of people lose the opportunity because of how ridiculous costs are. Stop setting contribution crap and start providing more funds. Inheritance of debt sucks but at least give someone enough loans to receive the education they deserve and work hard for.

jennifer b  on  2/24/2016 9:37:33 PM commented:

education is the only shot for allot of us to make a better life for ourselves and our children. The insane high prices of higher education prevents so many doors for me and people like me to open up and give us opportunities.

Teresa L  on  2/24/2016 4:31:14 PM commented:

I am a 44 year old single mother of two children I was recently in an accident and due to that accident I am unable to work in my former career I do believe that financial aid should be based on financial need I have worked every day since I was 12 years old I have paid my taxes I do believe that I should be able to go to school and get an education in a career so that I will be able to get back on my feet and be able to afford to take care of my children properly on my own again I do believe that tuition, room and board as well as child care are astronomical at this moment they are not even giving me enough financial aid to cover the cost of my tuition and my books. Financial aid is not even giving me enough money to take classes in the summer I am having to get a loan just to cover the cost of my tuition and books for the summer semester so I believe that people with low income families should not be punished because their families cannot afford to send them to college instead of judging maybe you should walk a mile in one of our shoes

bridget c.  on  2/24/2016 2:09:49 PM commented:

The concept is promising. Knowing our legislators, it would be more broken than the current one.

Inge T.  on  2/24/2016 1:59:16 PM commented:

This is yet another terrible idea for reforming the current broken system. All too often the phrase, "based on financial need" pushes out all those exceptional students who fall through the cracks in the system because their income is too high to qualify but too low to afford college. When are these politicians going to realize that some arbitrary income number they pick as "qualified low-income" is the wrong way to approach this problem? When are these people going to realize that scholarships and grants awarded to hard-working students is the ONLY way to solve this? I am totally against this ridiculous policy. /facepalm

Kb  on  2/24/2016 12:24:17 PM commented:

I believe that the cost of going to college is too expensive; however, I also believe that student help should be based off of grades and merit. People who have good grades should be rewarded regardless of their income. People who contribute to their community should be rewarded regardless of their income. People who have low income but can't keep up grades or at least help their community is some way, do not deserve money.

Jeremias H.  on  2/24/2016 8:12:11 AM commented:

I wish this was good to be true ,I really want to become a future chiropractor because I love helping people, hopefully this dream can come true

neal m  on  2/24/2016 6:00:42 AM commented:

In this country we already spend 90 percent of non-military government monies taking care of roughly 10 percent of our population who are economically disadvantaged. When is the madness going to end? What ever happened to working for what you want? How about this college is not for everyone. if you don't have the high school record to show you belong in college,why not go to technical school?. Better yet get a job and work for a living.

Lauren e.  on  2/24/2016 3:39:13 AM commented:

As a college student who relies heavily on grants this is terrible. I pay my own way parents do not help. So this would mean I would no longer be able to attend college..because I'm a typical Caucasian female it's automatically assumed I'm loaded with cash and my parents pay for everything but in fact it's the opposite and also makes me ineligible for a lot of scholarships. Grants are literally my only hope...don't take them away.

Demichael W  on  2/24/2016 12:19:47 AM commented:

I believe this is a great idea in changing the system, and looking towards new and better beginnings. I'm considered a "low income student" trying to finish school. I know when I graduate I don't what to have to face the many student loans that come with a degree. I also believe that if states do agree with this plan that there would be a lot more people wanting to better them selves. Its all about growth and coming together to change the world.

Monica  on  2/23/2016 11:49:40 PM commented:

I have a huge debt in grants and loans from college, am a low income parent pursuing to finish my education, but it has also let me in a huge debt with loan lenders. Need help, specially since some of the scholarships don't apply to online course or school, for me it has been a easy way to continue school due that I have three children and also have to help my husband financial to pay house bills

Hannah H  on  2/23/2016 9:38:53 PM commented:

Sounds good. But I can see states and/or universities finding ways around doing this plan the right way. Who or what is best equipped to monitor and govern our higher learning institutions? The federal? State? Individuals? It forces such as competition and consumer forces? I'm neither leading the question, here, or offering a solution. Just voicing a question.

Mike  on  2/23/2016 9:33:55 PM commented:

Time to base grants and full ride scholarships based on merits and GPA only. There is so much based on financial need the brightest people will go elsewhere for their education.

Scott s  on  2/23/2016 8:56:40 PM commented:

College got expensive when the government got involved. It would be better to get government out of trying to help pay for college. Only then will colleges take a real look at their costs and start to lower them. Competition is best at increasing value and lowering costs.

EB  on  2/23/2016 8:08:04 PM commented:

I think the EFC need to be revamped as well. We make just above the threshold to be considered for needs based anything....scholarships erc. My child has a gpa over 4.5 and an act score of 26. So we don't meet the hight merit scholarships either. A 26 doesn't cut it. Stuck in the middle once again. Should I quit my job so we will be eligible. Seems counter productive but that woukd make sense.

Sue B  on  2/23/2016 8:01:52 PM commented:

What about middle class families that can't afford to send their kids to college? No financial aid for us except loans. Isn't that sad. Our daughter is in her second year at a state University (our home state) and between her and us we are already in debt $40k. She had over a 3.9 GPA in HS and is currently pulling a cumulative 3.8 + in college. No scholarships for her though... Because we aren't "poor", she's not a minority and she doesn't play sports or have all sorts of extracurricular activities. :( Seems messed up to me!

Hayley M  on  2/23/2016 7:15:39 PM commented:

I agree that education should not be this difficult to pay for. In this day and age we are expected as new adults, some with no backing from parents to have to pay thousands of dollars in college funding and it's obviously very stressful. In my opinion I think that tuition should be a lot more affordable. I also think that community college should be free and I don't think that's the worst thing that could happen to America. All students want is a higher education but within this economy no one can afford it because tuition is so high. That's why people are becoming lazy and getting easier jobs. It's not because they want to work at a place like McDonalds or Kroger for the rest of their life. It's because they couldn't afford it and had to settle for something less. If that isn't disgusting, I don't know what is.

Donna Allen-strickland  on  2/23/2016 5:58:34 PM commented:

I would like to apply for a grant without numerous colleges calling after this. It would be nice to have a grant to pay back part of my loan. Also what about programs that students can work at where part of the loan was paid off for the service. Also grants need to apply to post graduate and they need to apply to all ages My name is donna Allen-strickland

Frustrated College Student  on  2/23/2016 5:49:24 PM commented:

So basically shifting part of the cost of education to the taxpayers. What else is new? How about the government stay out of education all together! They are the reason tuition is so high.

Julie  on  2/23/2016 4:28:08 PM commented:

No this proposal sucks. We should help every student equally regardless of their income status.

CD  on  2/23/2016 4:24:23 PM commented:

I feel like this could go somewhere. I'm a senior in high school right now and looking at all these colleges and seeing how much each one cost is ridiculous. I definitely think college cost too much but the way that they're trying to fix it isn't going to go far. What they're trying to do is going to cost why too much money in the long run. I think tuition should be cheaper or at least half of what most colleges have but keep everything else the same like room and board, the whole nine yards.

Jennifer B  on  2/23/2016 4:18:51 PM commented:

I have almost $100,000 in student loans for a degree I can't use in my state of residence. I have been on an Income Based Repayment plan, or in deferment, for the entirety of my repayment status. I can't afford to pay for the education, that continues to escalate, due to high interest rates. Eventually, the government will end up eating my loans, though currently, it won't happen until I have been in a repayment status for 20-25 years. So, until then, I qualify for minimal payments and make those every month. It is incredibly frustrating and deflating to have spent 9 years and thousands of dollars (ludicrous!) on my education, but can't secure employment in the field. Something's gotta give!

Amanda R  on  2/23/2016 3:17:02 PM commented:

I have been trying to get back to college so I can get my degree in marriage and family councling and also grifen councillor.

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