Celebrating 10 Years of TICAS: Our 10th Student Debt Report and Other News

Our 10th Annual Report on Debt at Gradation Released at “A Decade of Student Debt”

Check out Student Debt and the Class of 2014, our tenth report on debt at graduation, issued as we celebrate TICAS’ tenth year! The report has new national, state-by-state, and college-level findings about recent bachelors’ degree recipients and a first-time look at 10-year trends. Released on October 27, it’s already been featured in news stories around the country, including in more than 25 states. National toplines:

  • At public and nonprofit colleges in 2014, seven in 10 graduating seniors had loans, and their average debt was $28,950.
  • From 2004 to 2014, average debt for new graduates grew more than twice as fast as inflation.

The release event in Washington, D.C. , called “A Decade of Student Debt,” also featured a dynamic panel discussion about what’s changed over the past 10 years and the implications for policy, moderated by Inside Higher Ed’s Doug Lederman. We’re grateful to our expert panelists: Rohit Chopra (Center for American Progress), Tamara Draut (Dēmos), Max Espinoza (Scholarship America), and Kevin James (American Enterprise Institute).

Read Student Debt and the Class of 2014
View the interactive state map
Read the press release

REPAYE: New 10% Plan for ALL Direct Student Loan Borrowers Goes Online Next Month

The U.S. Department of Education has issued final regulations creating a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Called Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), it improves on existing plans in key ways. When REPAYE becomes available in mid-December, all borrowers with federal Direct student loans will be able to cap their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income, regardless of when they borrowed or their debt-to-income ratio. REPAYE also limits interest accrual for borrowers with low income relative to their debt, treats married borrowers more equitably, and better targets benefits so that higher income borrowers pay the same share of their income as lower income borrowers.

Borrowers with only undergraduate debt will become eligible for forgiveness after 20 years of payments, but REPAYE requires those with any graduate school debt to pay for 25 years on all their loans. Many of you joined TICAS and more than 2,400 concerned individuals and organizationsin urging that payments be limited to 20 years for all borrowers. There’s bipartisan interest in streamlining multiple IDR plans, and this time-limit is something Congress can and should fix when it creates one improved plan.

View our simple summary chart of the 5 income-driven repayment plans, including REPAYE
Read our press release on REPAYE

Dramatic Improvement to FAFSA Process

We’re thrilled that the White House announced important changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will dramatically simplify and improve the application process for millions of students and families starting next year. Basing federal aid eligibility on the tax data available when students typically apply to college, sometimes called ‘prior-prior year’ data, means students will be able to apply for aid earlier and more easily, and make better informed college decisions. TICAS has been making the case for this major timing fix since 2007.

Read our statement

New California Law Brings Important Student Debt Information and Counseling

A new California law requires colleges to disclose their graduates’ debt levels, and to inform students about untapped federal aid eligibility before certifying private loans. Nationally, colleges don’t have to report the share of their graduates who have loans or their average debt, and many – including nearly all for-profit colleges – choose not to. In addition, almost half of undergraduates who take out private loans haven’t maxed out on safer federal loans first. We’re excited that our home state is out ahead on these key components of our national policy agenda , and we hope federal policymakers take note. 

Other TICAS Work of Note

It’s been a busy season for student aid issues! Here are just some of our recent statements and other TICAS commentary, analyses, and proposals:

Support Our Work: #GivingTuesday is Coming Soon

TICAS is excited to participate in #GivingTuesday on December 1. Help make a difference for low-income students and struggling borrowers by giving to TICAS – on Giving Tuesday or today! 

For more information, visit ticas.org/givingtuesday