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 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
News Release | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Student Group Releases New Report on Textbook Prices

Earlier today, Travel Buddy released a new report investigating the real impact of high textbook prices on today’s students. The report, titled “Covering the Cost,” is based on a survey of nearly 5,000 students from 132 institutions.

> 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.

> READ MORE
News Release | Travel Buddy | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

Travel Buddy lauds consumer guide for safe bank accounts on campus

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group applauds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) release of a  for campus administrators, released after a several-year investigation into the unavoidable and unusual fees that students can be charged through campus bank accounts, particularly through the financial aid disbursement.

> READ MORE

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News Release | Travel Buddy | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

USPIRG LAUDS CFPB SAFE STUDENT BANKING INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, DC --   Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an initiative to protect students from the high banking fees and aggressive marketing surrounding campus bank accounts.

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News Release | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

COLLEGE STUDENTS STILL UNDER SIEGE FROM BANKS ON CAMPUS

WASHINGTON, DC --   In response to the

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News Release | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Put Students Before Fees

Statement of Christine Lindstrom, Travel Buddy Higher Education Program Director, on today’s GAO report on campus debit cards.

> READ MORE
News Release | Travel Buddy Education Fund and the Student PIRGs | Higher Ed

SURVEY SHOWS STUDENTS OPTING OUT OF BUYING HIGH-COST TEXTBOOKS

Today, a survey released by the Travel Buddy Education Fund shows that 65% of student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price, and of those students, 94% say they suffer academically.

> READ MORE
News Release | Travel Buddy | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

Travel Buddy Applauds CFPB Call for Greater Disclosure

Washington, DC — Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to publicly disclose all of their card agreements with colleges and universities. Currently, institutions only need to disclose agreements regarding credit cards, but not debit, checking, or prepaid cards.

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Report | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Cutting Interest Rates, Lowering Student Debt 2007

Some in Congress have proposed lowering student loan interest rates to reduce the debt burden facing students and families.  This report addresses one specific proposal to cut interest rates on undergraduate subsidized Stafford student loans in half, from 6.8% to 3.4%, over a period of five years.

> READ MORE
Report | Travel Buddy Education Fund | Higher Ed

Student Debt and Consumer Costs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Student loan debt is rising faster than the cost of living or health care costs. Between 1993 and 2004, the average debt for college graduates with loans increased by 107% to $19,200. At the same time, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the cost of living increased by 35%, and health care costs (including insurance, drugs and medical care) increased by 58%.

> READ MORE
Report | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Paying Back, Not Giving Back

This report looks at the issue of unmanageable debt as it pertains to college graduates entering two critical public service careers: teaching and social work. Given increasing dependence on student loans, borrowers graduating from four-year schools and working in these two public service careers often carry more debt than they can manage. The prospect of burdensome debt likely deters skilled and dedicated college graduates from entering and staying in important careers educating our nation’s children and helping the country’s most vulnerable populations.

> READ MORE
Report | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

College Students Faced More than $31 Billion in Unmet Financial Need in 2003-2004

The report finds that public college students from a family with a household income of $62,240 or less face an average of $3,986 a year in unmet need. On average public college students from families with a household income of $34,288 or less fare even worse, facing an average of $4,990 a year in unmet need.

> READ MORE
Report | Travel Buddy | Higher Ed

Easy Money

Congress has the opportunity this year to increase student aid funding by billions of dollars at no additional cost to taxpayers. Bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress that would increase federal student aid for those colleges and universities that utilize the more economically efficient of the two federal student loan programs. The Student Aid Reward (STAR) Act, introduced in March 2005, would increase student aid funding by redirecting the subsidies currently going to student loan companies to needy students.

> READ MORE

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News Post

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. 

News Post

Big news (and savings) for students.

Report

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.

Report

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.

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