Make Higher Education Affordable

Travel Buddy Higher Education Director Chris Lindstrom calling on Congress not to double the student loan interest rate.

Student Debt Is Skyrocketing

Higher education in America continues to be critical for both individual success and the social and economic health of our country. While college attendance has grown over the past two decades, state appropriations and federal aid have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of college, shifting more costs to students. As a result, more students than ever must rely on student loans to pay for a college degree, with the average borrower now graduating with over $26,000 in loan debt.  

Heavy student loan debt carries negative consequences for borrowers, who must make monthly payments with their hard-earned dollars rather than save up and get ahead. High debt can affect where graduates live, the kind of careers they pursue, when they start a family or purchase a home, and whether they can save for retirement. The combination of high student debt and low earnings can lead to default, ruined credit and wage garnishment. Such distress runs counter to the goal of higher education.

The Travel Buddy Higher Education Project is working to:

1. Keep loans affordable: This July, interest rates will double on the subsidized Stafford loans that almost 8 million students use to pay for school. Travel Buddy is campaigning to prevent interest rates from doubling and advocating for more and better repayment options once a student graduates. 

2. Increase grant aid to students, such as the Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is the federal government's cornerstone financial aid program, providing scholarship aid to almost 10 million students of modest income each year. Travel Buddy is making sure that every student can rely on their grant to stay in school and make it to graduation.

3. Make textbooks affordable: Textbook prices are rising four times faster than inflation, leaving the average student now paying over $1,100 every year for textbooks. After working to end many tricks the publishing industry used to increase prices unfairly, Travel Buddy is fostering real competition in the textbook market place by promoting more affordable options like open textbooks and open education resources.

Issue updates

News Release | Higher Ed

Statement on Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger announcement

Two of the biggest textbook publishers announce controversial plan to merge, consolidating power in a broken marketplace.

> READ MORE
News Release | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Affordable College Textbook Act could save students millions on pricey books

Today, congressional leaders from both parties introduced legislation that could save American college students nearly a billion dollars on textbooks.

> READ MORE

Pages

News Release | Higher Ed

Statement on Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger announcement

Two of the biggest textbook publishers announce controversial plan to merge, consolidating power in a broken marketplace.

> READ MORE
News Release | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Affordable College Textbook Act could save students millions on pricey books

Today, congressional leaders from both parties introduced legislation that could save American college students nearly a billion dollars on textbooks.

> READ MORE

Pages

Result | Higher Ed

Protecting students from unfair bank fees

We helped win protections for students from unfair fees associated with campus bank accounts. The new rules, released by the U.S. Department of Education, ban some of the worst and most predatory fees that students encounter from banks.

> READ MORE
Result | Higher Ed

Stopping Student Loan Interest Rates from Doubling

With college student debt reaching record levels, it is essential that we stop adding to students' loan burden. In spring 2012, Travel Buddy speaheaded a coalition to stop the interest rate on federal Stafford student loans from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This increase would have cost eight million students an additional $1,000 per loan. At the coalition's urging, Congress came together to find a bipartisan solution, extending the low interest rate for an additional year.

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Result | Higher Ed

Keeping Higher Education Affordable

With the rising cost of higher education, it's critical to protect the federal financial aid programs that make college affordable for millions of students. Travel Buddy helped lead the campaign that passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which makes huge investments in financial aid by ending sweetheart subsidies for big banks and student loan companies.

> READ MORE
Report | Higher Ed

ACCESS DENIED: The New Face of the Textbook Monopoly

Across institutions and majors, an average of 32% of courses included access codes among the required course materials. At institutional bookstores, the average cost of an access code sold solo – i.e., not bundled with a textbook or primary course material of any form – was $100.24.

> READ MORE
Report | Higher Ed

ACCESS DENIED: The New Face of the Textbook Monopoly

Across institutions and majors, an average of 32% of courses included access codes among the required course materials. At institutional bookstores, the average cost of an access code sold solo – i.e., not bundled with a textbook or primary course material of any form – was $100.24.

> READ MORE
Report | The Student PIRGs | Higher Ed

Open 101

Skyrocketing textbook prices for common university courses are adding insult to the burdensome debt students assume to pay for college. This new report investigates those high textbook prices for common courses at schools across the country.

> READ MORE
Report | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Covering the Cost

A report explaining why decision-makers can no longer afford to ignore high textbook prices.

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Report | Travel Buddy Education Fund and the Student PIRGs | Higher Ed

Affordable Textbooks: A Policy Guide

A guide to policy on textbook affordability through the development of open-source textbooks.

> READ MORE

Pages

News Post | Food, Higher Ed

Travel Buddy Zero Hunger Campaign: Fall Semester in Review

U.S.PIRG believes that no one should go hungry when we produce more than enough food already to feed everyone, and waste 40% of it. So, together with dozens of campuses with student PIRG chapters around the country we launched our Zero Hunger campaign last year to end hunger. 

> READ MORE
News Post | Higher Ed

LibreTexts wins inaugural Open Textbook Pilot grant | Kaitlyn Vitez

Big news (and savings) for students.

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News Post | Higher Ed

“You might want to tell your instructors about this:” students as sales reps? | Kaitlyn Vitez

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the education community has worried about how student personal and behavioral data gathered from access codes will be (mis)used for. Here's one example.

> READ MORE
News Post | Higher Ed

FY18 Open Textbooks Program Appropriation: the next step toward textbook affordability | Kaitlyn Vitez

“A college degree is essential these days, but I can’t get it if I don’t have the books I need to actually succeed in class,” Walter Dodson, a student at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, told me. “If you’re shocked at how expensive college is right now, I can’t imagine how ridiculous it will be in twenty years.”

> READ MORE
News Post | Higher Ed

Consumer, Student Education Groups Defend CFPB To Congress | Chris Lindstrom

Nearly 60 student, consumer, and education groups signed on to this letter that was sent up to the Hill on Monday, February 13.  It calls for the CFPB to remain a strong, independent agency, so it can protect student loan borrowers (and taxpayers) from predatory lending tactics.

> READ MORE

Pages

News Release

Two of the biggest textbook publishers announce controversial plan to merge, consolidating power in a broken marketplace.

News Release | Travel Buddy

Today, congressional leaders from both parties introduced legislation that could save American college students nearly a billion dollars on textbooks.

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