Parents and students enter into an often complicated and opaque process when trying to secure financial aid, making some kind of financial discussion essentially a requirement for anyone hoping to successfully pay for college, said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a left-leaning think tank.
Even politicians are noticing. For the first time ever, student debt and college affordability has become a major campaign issue in this presidential election. “It’s a kitchen table economic issue,” Huelsman said. “Obviously it’s great to see that families are considering it as an issue, but there are big policy questions and concerns that need to be addressed.”
Those start with increased federal investment in higher education so that college can be something parents with modest savings or students working a part-time job can afford, he said. Huelsman has been one of the voices behind the progressive push for debt-free college.