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For Americans of all socio-economic backgrounds, borrowing has become a primary way to pay for the skyrocketing cost of higher education. In the early 1990s, less than half of graduates left college with loans to repay; now, by the time they graduate, nearly two-thirds of students at four-year colleges and universities have student loan debt. And the amount of outstanding loans has increased sharply, even after accounting for inflation.
The Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access and Success (The Institute) seeks to increase public understanding of these trends and the implications for families, society and the national economy.
Working with experts, the project conducts nonpartisan research and advocates for practical policy options to reduce debt. In 2007, Congress passed and the president signed bipartisan legislation that improved repayment options for student borrowers, a program modeled on the Institute's research. Today, the Institute is working to simplify the application for student grants so more students can take advantage of this type of funding instead of loans.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information: view the materials below, visit the Project on Student Debt Web site, or visit the The Project on Student Debt on PewHealth.org.
Dec 01, 2009 - The Project on Student Debt's fourth annual report on the student loan debt of new college graduates. The analysis of the most recent available data found that student debt continued to rise even as it got harder for recent graduates to find jobs, and that debt levels vary considerably from state to state and college to college.
View: Full Report (Adobe PDF)
Oct 07, 2009 - This report finds that nearly one in 10 community college students in the U.S. can’t get a federal loan if they need one because their schools choose not to participate in the federal loan programs.
Jun 11, 2009 - A guide to what college students, their parents, and people already repaying their student loans need to know about the changes taking place on July 1, 2009.
Oct 22, 2008 - In our third annual report on student debt trends, we find that student debt levels continue to rise overall, with considerable variation across states and colleges.
Jul 01, 2008 - A guide to what college students, their parents, and people already repaying their student loans need to know about the helpful changes taking place on July 1, 2008.
Apr 17, 2008 - An issue brief on the lack of access to federal loans by community college students.
Sep 06, 2007 - College loans aren’t a bad thing. But the repayment system should be practical, fair and less intimidating.
Aug 31, 2007 - State-by-state analysis underscores urgent need to lower student loan debt.
Mar 21, 2007 - The report Going to the Source: A Practical Way to Simplify the FAFSA outlines a plan for simplifying the financial aid application process.
Apr 05, 2006 - A report on student debt’s negative impact on public service career opportunities.
Feb 01, 2006 - A white paper analyzing the U.S. student loan programs' strengths and weaknesses.
Sep 20, 2005 - When student loans are the only way to pay for college, who decides how much debt a degree is worth? This paper explores how debt aversion and conflicting views about the role of student loans affect young people, their families, and those who advise them.
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