Thursday, November 16, 2006

College Students Left Behind

Bush and his fellow Republicans talk big about the importance of getting a college education, but they don't back it up with money according to the EPI:
The College Board reported that Pell grants, one of the largest sources of federal help for low-income college students, have not kept up with college prices. [...] Pell Grants now cover only about a third of the average costs at a four-year public school, compared with 42% in 2001-02 and 57% in 1985-86. [...] Meanwhile, college costs (average published tuition, fees, and room and board (TFRB) charges) at four-year public colleges are up by about 25% from five years ago.

As a result, students are increasingly turning to loans to finance their post-secondary education. However, the helpfulness of government loans has also been declining. Subsidized loans under the Stafford Loan program declined from 69% of student borrowing in 1995-96 to 55% in 2005-06. On the other hand, the percentage of student loans borrowed through banks and other private institutions has significantly increased. These loans, which often carry higher interest rates and can be difficult to acquire for poor and minority students, constituted only 4% of student borrowing in 1995-96, but they account for up to 20% of all student loans in 2005-06.
I guess education takes a backseat to the war in Iraq that could end up costing $1 trillion dollars or plans to build a virtual fence along the U.S. border - a plan that could end up costing $30 billion.

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