In the News

Education-loan borrowing among students pursuing an associate’s degree has increased significantly in the past decade, particularly among low-income students. For the 2011-2012 academic year, 55% of students who received Pell Grants and earned associate’s degrees also graduated with debt, according to a 2015 report from Demos, a progressive policy group in Washington, D.C.

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“The decline in state funding for state colleges and universities is the main driver of what’s increasing costs,” says Mark Huelsman, senior policy analyst at Demos, a liberal think tank. He’s the author of a 2014 proposal for increasing public higher education funding that he says has drawn interest from several presidential primary candidates.

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"Debt-free" might not sound as sexy as simply "free," but O'Malley's approach could in fact create a more effective mandate for radically reducing the cost of college in the United States.
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Over the past 10 years, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization's Project on Student Debt has been laser-focused on this issue. Their first big campaign, backed by a broad range of student and education groups, was to introduce income-based repayment for loans, a proposal adopted by the Obama administration and passed into law in 2007.

Asher's group isn't the only policy shop that recognizes that student debt is having a moment.

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European countries also differ substantively from the US in terms of the percentage of college attendees that their debt free models serve.

“Germany has a lower percentage of students go on to college than we have here in the US,” Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at think tank Demostold ATTN.

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Policy makers are also exploring ways to maintain a safety net for seniors with defaulted student loans, while still ensuring the Education Department gets the money it’s owed. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and McCaskill, Democrats from Massachusetts and Missouri, respectively, sent a letter to the GAO earlier this year asking for more information about the financial and loan status of seniors losing their benefits.

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South Carolina may soon address the threat of white-supremacist terrorism with more realistic, acute legislation.

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Thanks to certain progressive senators and Democratic presidential hopefuls, interest in debt-free college is at an all-time high. But what happens next is very much uncertain — people don’t even agree on what debt-free college means, much less how (or whether) to make it a reality. Demos, which put the idea on Washington’s radar via a white paper last May, is now trying to tackle both issues — by wrangling a common definition of the idea, and starting to codify it via Higher Education Act reauthorization.

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About 81 percent of black graduates of public colleges and universities have student debt, compared with 63 percent of white graduates, according to report by Washington think tank Demos. Latino students borrow at similar rates to white students.

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No one gets a job as a retail cashier or shopping assistant to get rich.
While the retail industry is known for its paltry pay across the board, skin color has an alarming influence on how many raises and promotions a worker receives.
 
White retail workers earn $15.32 an hour, on average, while African American and Latino retail workers average less than $11.75, according to a recent analysis of government data by NAACP and Demos, a left-leaning think tank.
 
The reason is simple: white workers are mor