Higher Education Act: INCREASING AFFORDABILITY?
Lawmakers have recently reauthorized the Higher Education Act, is an attempt to increase enrollment rates by improving the affordability of a college education through raising financial aid eligibility to in need students. Over the last four years this rise in the federal budget for student financial aid has inflated the cost of a college education to an all time high. Due to these increases in student loan availability, not only has the student debt rate been at an all time high, but graduation rate has been at an all time low. This Higher Education Act gives institutions too much flexibility to vary their course fees causing an ever rising cost for a college degree. And in the last five
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The Higher Education Act's main focus is on producing the maximum amount of funds for the broader budget cutting process in hopes to increase to amount returned to the federal government rather than the private lender companies. "The size of the maximum grant grew significantly in the early years that Republicans controlled Congress in the late 1990s, but spending on the program has expanded significantly in the last only because more and more needy students have flooded into the program the per-student maximum amount has stayed flat since 2001" (Lederman, 2007, para.11). It is great that the Higher Education Act makes federal financial aid loans more available to a broader array of needy students with fewer strings attached; it is also leaving more and more students in a considerable amount of debt by the time they have their degrees. The increase in financial aid availability made possible by the Higher Education Act does nothing to increase the amount of students whom actually graduate with a college diploma. "More students than ever enter college--four out of every five "on-time high school graduates" do so, according to The Education Trust. While the overall rate of graduation has decreased four percent since