How Financial Literacy, Federal Aid Knowledge, and Credit Market Experience Predict Loan Aversion for Education

By Jacob Martin

A recent multi-year study on causes of federal student loan aversion (defined as the unwillingness of students to borrow to finance their education), entitled How Financial Literacy, Federal Aid Knowledge, and Credit Market Experience Predict Loan Aversion for Education uses survey responses from high school seniors, community college students who did and did not borrow for higher education, and adults without a college degree. Continue reading

The Condition of Education 2017: Summaries of Postsecondary Education Data

By Jael Greene

The Condition of Education 2017 was recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual report summarizes the latest education data in the United States using a number of indicators in reporting postsecondary statistics, including undergraduate and post-baccalaureate enrollment, characteristics of students and institution graduation and retention rates. Continue reading

Varying Degrees: An In-Depth Look at How Americans View Higher Education

By Jael Greene

Just this month, New America released a report titled Varying Degrees: New America’s Annual Survey on Higher Education. In order to better understand some of the perceptions surrounding higher education and economic mobility, the report surveyed 1,600 Americans ages 18 and over. The results revealed that while there were differences across age, gender and socioeconomic status regarding the value and goals of higher education, there were also significant common themes among the participants’ responses. Continue reading

The Affordability Conundrum: Value, Price, and Choice in Higher Education

By Jael Greene

The Manhattan Institute’s newest report, The Affordability Conundrum: Value, Price, and Choice in Higher Education examined two types of questions: for whom is college affordable and why? The authors used data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) to analyze average net costs and compare student experiences. They also used an affordability benchmark for higher education called “the Rule of 10,” which maintains that students and their families should pay no more for college than the savings accumulated by setting aside 10% of their discretionary income for ten years, in addition to student earnings from work 10 hours a week while enrolled in school. Continue reading

The Federal Student Loan Default to Income-Driven Repayment Transition

By Rachel Fenton

In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published its Annual Report of the CFPB Student Loan OmbudsmanThis report analyzed complaints submitted by consumers from September 2015 through August 2016, including 5,500 complaints related to private student loans and 2,300 complaints about debt collection of private and federal student loans.  Since the CFPB recently began accepting federal student loan servicing complaints, this report also analyzed 3,900 federal student loan servicing complaints received between March and August 2016.  The report features a detailed analysis of complaints regarding the transition from default to repayment status. Continue reading

Out of Reach? How a Shared Definition of College Affordability Exposes a Crisis for Low-Income Students

By Irene Cruz

A recent report from Demos analyzed which states offer the most affordable public four-year and community colleges for students by income levels and race. Using the “Rule of 10” crafted by a working group convened by the Lumina Foundation, colleges are deemed affordable for students if their net price can be met with 10 hours of minimum-wage work per week throughout the year, as well as 10 percent of a family’s discretionary income saved over 10 years. The analysis calculates the affordability gap for low-income students by comparing the average net price of both two- and four-year degrees for low-income students in each state by the amount students can earn from work while at school. The report also explored whether college is affordable for Black and Latino adult students returning to college after working for a decade making median earnings by race. Continue reading

Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2015-16; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2014–15; and 12-Month Enrollment, 2014–15

By Betsy Prueter

Recently, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released preliminary data from IPEDS on cost of attendance, degrees award and enrollment numbers at 7,164 Title IV institutions.  While data from the preliminary report covers tuition and fees only, the full report will include cost of attendance data including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board and other personal expenses such as transportation.  Completion data will break down level of degree by race/ethnicity and gender, and enrollment numbers over a 12 month period will be provided by race/ethnicity, gender and student level (undergraduate vs. graduate). Continue reading

Landscape Analysis of Emergency Aid Programs

By Betsy Prueter

A recent report from Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education (NASPA) reviewed how institutions are designing emergency aid programs, how institutions are using emergency aid to help meet student needs, how many students are served by these types of programs, and what impact this type of aid has on student completion.  The authors found that while students may be able to plan for certain college costs (tuition, fees, housing, books) unforeseen expenses connected to a financial emergency can arise and sometimes lead to students taking breaks or fully withdrawing from their institution. Unfortunately, the federal parameters of emergency aid programs are not always clear and institutions lack clear guidance on how aid should be distributed and what constitutes an “emergency.” Continue reading

What Happens When You Warn Students About Their Loan Debt?

By Glen Casey

An article recently released by the Pew Charitable Trusts examines a new loan reduction initiative at Indiana University (IU). After sending letters to students’ homes with their borrowing rates and expected future monthly payments, the university has seen student borrowing decrease by 18 percent since 2012. However, they lack hard evidence that the effort is fully attributed to the letters home as the letter campaign is part of a broader initiative aimed at increasing student’s financial literacy by providing additional counseling, releasing a financial podcast on money management and launching a new website that offers quizzes and calculators for student use. Continue reading

Shifting Burdens: How Changes in Financial Aid Affected What Students and Families Paid for College from 1996 to 2012

By Nicholas Brock

Evaluating the various sources of college financing, a recent report published by New America examines how different types of students (e.g. low income, dependent) paid for higher education from 1996 to 2012. Preliminary findings display significant variation in the share of college costs (defined as tuition plus living expenses) students and families paid out of pocket, related to students’ dependency status, income classification and type of institution (public, private, etc). Continue reading