Progressive Push on Debt

March 7, 2014 | | Insider Higher Ed |

A coalition of progressive groups on Thursday formally began a new campaign aimed at curbing rising student debt and reducing the price of college.

The group of think tanks, student organizations, consumer advocates, and unions is targeting the country’s “increasingly dysfunctional system of higher education,” said Anne Johnson, executive director of Generation Progress, the youth division of the Center for American Progress, which is an organizer of the campaign. [...]

Aside from pushing policies that help existing student loan borrowers, the campaign -- dubbed “Higher Ed, Not Debt” -- also plans to mobilize efforts to reduce the price of college.

One part of that strategy is to persuade state legislatures to reverse the hefty cuts they have made to public higher education over the past several years. A report published Thursday by Demos, a liberal think tank that is also part of the coalition, found that 49 states are now spending less per student on higher education than they did before the 2008 recession. The cuts in 28 of those states were greater than 25 percent, the report said.

Another aspect of the agenda is to seek more accountability for colleges and universities.

Read the Demos report The Great Cost Shift Continues: State Higher Education Funding After the Recession