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Press release/statement

STATEMENT: Coalition of Higher Education Groups Urge Investment in College Affordability as Part of Stimulus Package

Proposal to Expand Funding for Low-Income Students; Increased Access to Federal Loan Program

New York, NY — Demos, a national, non-partisan, public policy and advocacy organization, in partnership with twelve national organizations representing students, colleges, consumers, and college administrators, sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday calling for increased investment in college affordability and reducing financial barriers for entry into post-secondary education.

In the letter, the groups outline a two-year student aid stimulus package for assistance to students and parents aimed at boosting college access, creating jobs and reducing student borrowing. Specific policy recommendations include:


--Raising the maximum Pell Grant to $7,000;

--Increasing funding for the Federal Work-Study Program by 25 percent;

--Improving access to Parent PLUS loans;

--Providing a limited "emergency access" student loan pool for colleges that commit to providing adequate need-based aid 

“Investments in higher education would bring much needed relief to households struggling to pay college bills in the midst of rising unemployment, declining home values and shrinking stock portfolios, and would help ensure young people have the ability to continue their education during one of the bleakest recessions in our nation’s history, said Tamara Draut, Vice-President for Policy and Programs at Demos, author of “Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead,” and the “Economic State of Young America.” “Funneling more aid to students is a sure-fire way to reap long-term benefits during this extraordinary fiscal meltdown, and would represent a down payment on the broader goal of making college more affordable after decades of soaring tuition prices and dwindling aid for lower income students.”

The letter is signed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Campus Progress, Demos, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, the National Consumer Law Center, the National Consumers League, State Higher Education Executive Officers, the Project on Student Debt, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and the United States Students Association.