New Report and a Special Request - email update

Dear Friend:

It's been a busy and exciting year at the Institute. Our Project on Student Debt scored a major legislative victory, and we've grown in size and scope. Today we are releasing the first report from our California-focused work, and I am making a special year-end request for your financial support.

Our new California report, Green Lights & Red Tape, found wide variations in financial aid policies and practices at the state's community colleges, which can have a major impact on students' access to available aid. We hope that our findings and recommendations encourage students, administrators, and policymakers to maximize the use of federal and state aid dollars.

This fall, the Project's state-by-state report, Student Debt and the Class of 2006, generated lots of interest in media and policy circles. Iowa legislators took notice of their state's high debt levels and invited me to testify as part of an ongoing investigation. In 2008 we will keep shedding light on what states and institutions can do to minimize debt for their students.

But the big news this fall was the enactment of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, which includes an Income Based Repayment plan modeled directly on our Plan for Fair Loan Payments. By ensuring that loan payments won't be more than borrowers can afford, it should ease the burdens of debt for past, present, and future students. In the coming year we will work hard to make this important new program easy for borrowers to learn about and use. We'll also keep pressing for stronger student loan disclosure and transparency laws, and consumer protections for borrowers with private loans. (Learn more about our student debt initiatives.)

Our progress would not have been possible without allies like you all across the country. As you make year-end decisions about charitable giving, please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our ongoing work. Our secure donation system allows you to make a monthly or annual contribution by credit card, or you can send us a check.

On behalf of the staff at the Institute, thank you for your continued support and encouragement, and best wishes for the New Year.

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Robert Shireman