Report: State Higher Education Cuts Fuel Student Debt Crisis

March 7, 2014 | | Al Jazeera America |

Biola Jeje, 22, graduated Brooklyn College last May with a degree in political science and a mission: Force lawmakers to address the $1.2 trillion student debt crisis. [...]

Jeje left college with $9,500 in student loans, less than half the $29,400 national average for four-year college graduates. She and her fellow activists are mobilizing support to march on Albany, New York state’s capital, to deliver a message to legislators. [...]

The march is part of Higher Ed Not Debt, a nationwide campaign launched Thursday to focus attention on the student debt crisis that affects 40 million Americans.

“Students are just being forced to borrow in ways and percentages and amounts they weren’t even 10 years ago,” said Robert Hiltonsmith, a policy analyst at the liberal think tank Demos, which released a study Thursday on the relationship between state funding cuts to higher education and soaring tuition

Demos found that higher education cuts since the Great Recession correlate strongly with state budget gaps. In 2010 for example, Arizona had a 65 percent budget deficit and 51 percent decrease in higher education funding, while California’s 53 percent budget gap was accompanied by a 28 percent cut to higher education.

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