College Affordability

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Staggering increases in college prices, and public policies that exacerbate existing inequalities, continue to threaten the ability of low- and middle-income students as well as students of color to afford higher education. 

Recent Actions

  • March 10 2011 - March 17 2011. Ed Trust Vice President Jose Cruz testified before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee on the importance of keeping college affordable for low- and moderate-income students.
  • April 27, 2012. Ed Trust released a statement urging Congress to work together to maintain the interest rate on subsidized student loans for undergraduates at 3.4%, rather than allowing it to double to 6.8%.
  • August 21, 2012. Ed Trust, along with 31 other organizations, sent a letter to Secretary Duncan asking him to stand tough on gainful employment even in the face of the court ruling vacating much of last year’s final rule. The letter also asked the Secretary to use his existing authority to enhance consumer protections for students at for-profit colleges.
  • May 15, 2013. Co-signed by TICAS, Ed Trust's May 15 letter to Rep. Joe Courtney supports the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013.
  • June 17, 2013. Ed Trust was one of about 30 organizations that wrote to Director Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) urging him to promptly use the CFPB’s authority to enforce consumer financial laws, including the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), to require that private education lenders obtain school certification prior to disbursing private education loans. Having schools certify private student loans can help ensure that students first exhaust their less expensive federal options before resorting to private loans.
  • June 21, 2013. Ed Trust joined with student consumer, consumer, education and youth groups in penning a letter to Sens. Reid (D-Nev.) and McConnell (R-Ky.) urging the adoption of the Student Loan Affordability Act, S. 953, to keep student loan interest rates low until 2015 while Congress seeks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and reach a comprehensive solution that is good for students.
  • June 28, 2013. Ed Trust was one of 50 organizations that sent a letter to senators supporting the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act (s. 1238), which would extend the current interest rate of 3.4 percent for subsidized Stafford loans for one year. This bill would give Congress the time it needs to develop a long-term solution to ballooning interest rates that would be in the best interest of students.
  • July 17, 2013. Ed Trust joined over 25 other organizations calling on Congress to invest in America's college students by offering comprehensive student loan reforms that would lower student loan debt for today's borrowers and future borrowers.
  • July 19, 2013. Ed Trust joined over 30 organizations working on behalf of students, veterans, consumers, faculty and staff, civil rights, and college and affordability to oppose the “Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act” (HR 2637).  This bill would reward institutions that deceive prospective students and provide low-quality, overpriced educational services, when we should instead be rewarding schools that successfully train students for productive careers.
  • October 4, 2013. The Education Trust, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Education Association, American Association of University Professors, Colorado Student Power Alliance, Jobs With Justice, Student Labor Action Project, University of Oregon Student Labor Action Project, and The Institute for College Access and Success, released a one-pager on the dangers of Pay It Forward, the so-called “Zero Education Debt,” program. With students paying back a percentage of their wages over a set number of years, the program has a number of serious flaws that need to be addressed before moving forward.
  • February 4, 2014. The Education Trust, along with a coalition of more than 50 other organizations, sent a letter to the White House urging the administration to issue promptly a stronger, more effective gainful employment regulation. The letter lays out five elements, at minimum, that should be included in the regulation.
  • May 27, 2014. The Education Trust submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education on its proposed program integrity rule to establish minimum standards of quality and affordability for students in higher education.
  • May 28, 2014. Fifty-three organizations who advocate for students, veterans, labor, consumers, and civil rights have signed a letter urging the Department of Education to strengthen the proposed gainful employment regulation to fully protect students and taxpayers from predatory career education colleges. Yesterday, 39 members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education expressing their support for a robust gainful employment rule. It is more important than ever that the Department strengthen its final rule to stop career education programs that consistently leave students with high debt and worthless workforce skills or credentials.
  • June 6, 2014. In support of the CHANCE (Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economicaly) Act, Ed Trust joined other civil rights organizations in writing a letter backing the act's goal of removing some of the financial barriers faced by hardworking low- and moderate-income students in successfully affording and completing postsecondary education.
  • July 22, 2014. The Education Trust sent a letter to Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Ranking Member George Miller (D-Calif.) concerning H.R.4983, the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, and H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. These bills address important issues of improved information and financial aid counseling for students. However, if more of our young people are to access, afford, and complete a postsecondary education, we must do more to address the staggering and rapidly growing cost of college, especially for low- and moderate-income students. 
  • August 29, 2014. The Education Trust submitted comments on Chairman Tom Harkin’s discussion draft to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). Although the draft bill addresses many important issues in higher education such as providing useful information to students and their families and improving teacher preparation programs, it does not give the necessary attention needed on holding colleges accountable for curbing college costs, access to college, and student success. We recommend stronger accountability measures on these fronts. Read our comments here.

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