Policymakers Must Act Now to Reform the Student Loan Default System
Pursuing a college degree has turned into a nightmare of loan default for millions of students – which disproportionately affects students of color, first-generation students, and students from low-income households. The vast majority of those who experience student loan default have faced persistent economic and social vulnerability. Rather than helping struggling borrowers get back on their feet, the student loan default system plunges them deeper into poverty.
A new brief from TICAS provides an overview of the current student loan default system and urges policymakers to re-think its structure so that it helps students instead of perpetuating poverty.
Momentum Growing for Investments in Higher Education
In early February, 187 organizations urged lawmakers to invest in our nation’s students by doubling the maximum Pell Grant award and protecting the long-term viability of the Pell Grant program – and to pursue all available means, including appropriations and other spending measures, to meet this crucial goal.
We applaud President Biden for affirming his commitment to the Pell Grant program in the 2022 State of the Union, and we appreciate the president’s acknowledgement of the importance of new investments in community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other minority-serving institutions. We are also grateful to the Senate for investing in Pell, retention and completion initiatives, and basic needs in the passage of a $1.5 trillion spending package. Our nation’s higher education system remains a powerful driver of social and economic mobility, but as long as a high-quality, affordable degree remains out of reach for many, it can reinforce rather than combat systemic racial and economic inequities.
The president is right to prioritize higher education investments as critical to a robust recovery from the pandemic, and we urge him to we urge to propose major new funding for higher education in his forthcoming budget. Students and their families cannot afford to wait.
A Stronger Cal Grant is the Key to Meeting California’s College Attainment and Equity Goals
With FAFSA completion and college enrollment down since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional Cal Grant investments and reforms are more urgent than ever to support California’s long-term educational attainment and economic and social wellbeing.
Alongside over 30 diverse partners, we highlighted the changes proposed in the Cal Grant Reform Act (AB 1746) and urged the Legislature and Governor Newsom to ensure that the final state budget reflects these critical updates.
Read the joint statement on the Cal Grant Equity Framework
Read the TICAS statement on AB 1746
TICAS Statement on the Proposed 2022-23 Michigan Budget
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently unveiled the state’s 2022-23 proposed budget, prioritizing K-12 student learning, mental health support, and teacher retention and attraction to the profession. TICAS looks forward to working with the legislature to support investments that will meaningfully help students from low-income households get to and through college.
Learn more about our work in Michigan
TICAS Welcomes New Team Members
We’re celebrating growth as we head into spring and are pleased to announce new additions to the TICAS team!
Dr. Marshall Anthony Jr. has taken the helm as Research Director and brings crucial insight and expertise to the role from his previous work in the field, most recently with the Center for American Progress. Jocelyn Salguero will work on TICAS’ federal affordability issues as Senior Program Associate building on her time with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Ana Oseguera will support day-to-day organizational operations as Senior Operations Associate, joining us from the Greenlining Institute. Nicholas Hillman from the University of Wisconsin-Madison joins TICAS as a Senior Fellow. His work has focused on higher education deserts, and recently co-edited a book on civil rights and federal higher education.
And we’re still growing! Visit ticas.org/careers to learn more about our open positions.
#RealStories, #RealStudents on Instagram
Did you know TICAS is on Instagram? We recently highlighted the experiences of Black students and borrowers for #BlackHistoryMonth, are celebrating the women of the Institute for College Access & Success in March, and as the negotiated rulemaking process continues, we’re hearing from #RealStudents about how they could have benefited from stronger accountability protections. Follow us for in-depth features and stories, and get to know more about TICAS!
TICAS in the News
- Opinion: If We Don’t Act Quickly, the Student Loan Default System Could Plunge More Families Into Poverty | Michele Streeter (TICAS), The Hechinger Report
“As long as student debt remains a reality for millions of Americans, policymakers must fundamentally rethink the structure of student loan default so that it no longer plunges families deeper into poverty. Before restarting repayment this May, the Education Department should place all defaulted loans back into good standing, so all borrowers can start off with a clean slate when payment resume.”
- College Completion Rates on the Rise | Maria Carrasco, Inside Higher Ed
“While the high cost of college is a major barrier to access and completion, many students also struggle to find affordable housing, transportation, childcare, academic support and more, said Catherine Brown, senior director of the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit organization that works to make higher education more available and affordable. And students who work to put themselves through college often take longer to attain a degree.”
- Advocates Call for Reform of Federal Student Loan Default System | Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive
“It is financially devastating, even uniquely so, compared to regular consumer debt,” said Jessica Thompson, vice president at TICAS. The federal government can garnish your wages without a court judgment. It can offset your tax refund or offset your Social Security. TICAS argued in its memo that the current default system is too punitive and often results in a vicious economic cycle for people who didn’t have enough money to begin with.”
- Pennsylvanians struggle with student loan debt | Taylor Allen, Axios
“‘We live in a society where two-thirds of jobs require some type of post-secondary education,’ Marshall Anthony Jr., research director for TICAS, tells Axios. ‘So the dilemma for young adults is, ‘I have to have a college degree