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 years that the Higher Education Act program has been enacted there has been no actual increase in the maximum Pell Grant amount, instead it has been spreading out more of the Educational Budget to a larger amount of students. And this reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will expand the access of college degree to students in need, it does nothing to guarantee any increase in the number of actual college graduates.
The Higher Education Act does provide more opportunities for in need students to receive a college education through increasing financial aid loan availability. But this rise in the student population actually decreases accountability for Higher Education Institutes, allowing them to inflate tuition rates, essentially increasing the total cost of a college education. "Tuition rates in the last decade rose 38 percent after being adjusted for inflation, and that since the 1980s costs rose three times as much as median family income. Last year costs for four-year schools rose in every state, and has persisted regardless of economic circumstances and the level of that state's funding" (Ladika, 2003, para.9). A better way would to increase the affordability of a higher education by having the government place...
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