jamesb commented on the blog post Student Loan Reform: Best Progressive Victory of 2010
Good question Rayne, for which there is no easy answer. The cost of good financial aid–grants and low interest loans–is exceedingly high. The federal government spends more on financial aid (roughly 100B per year in grants and loans) than all of the states combined, and thus it is very important to students to get a good deal from the federal government. Increasing the size of the Pell Grant and guaranteeing its availability to all students who apply for it should be an ongoing priority for progressives. Restoring student loan interest rates to the low rate that Ann mentions (I have one small loan from 2001 at 2.7 percent) should be another priority. On the supply side, though, the action is all at the state level. Students have seen above-inflation-rate increases in tuition for the last 20 years, and there is no sign of this trend abating. Some of the state programs that guarantee students a college education for meeting certain requirements during high school are benefiting some low-income college students, but there is a need for more of these programs, and for efforts to make sure that they don’t exclude students coming from under-resourced high schools.