The Institute for College Access & Success is a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education. Our Project on Student Debt increases public understanding of rising student debt and the implications for our families, economy, and society. Since 2005, we have helped create and improve Income-driven repayment plans to keep federal loan payments manageable; strengthen Pell Grants, which reduce the need to borrow; and simplify the financial aid application process. Yet there remains much more work for us to do. Below are key recommendations for federal policymakers to reduce the burden of student debt.


Increase Access to Need-Based Student Aid

  • Secure and improve Pell Grants
  • Establish a New Federal-State Partnership to Fund Public Colleges
  • Further simplify the federal financial aid application process
  • Streamline and improve higher education tax benefits


Make Loan Repayment Simple, Manageable and Fair

  • Simplify and improve income-driven repayment (IDR)
  • Automatically enroll distressed borrowers in IDR
  • Improve student loan servicing
  • Restore bankruptcy protections for student loan borrowers


Improve Postsecondary Data and Consumer Information Tools

  • Bring the postsecondary data system into the 21st century
  • Collect private student loan data
  • Improve and promote tools to help students make informed college decisions


Enhance and Improve Institutional Accountability

  • Strengthen policies to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse


Reduce Risky Private Loan Borrowing

  • Require school certification of private loans
  • Increase community college students’ access to federal student loans