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April 03, 2014 10:08 PM PLUS Loans are not Grants

By Rachel Fishman

What comes across overwhelmingly in these vignettes is the need for college “affordability.” But loans don’t make college more “affordable,” they enable access to finance college as costs keep rising. Now institutions are saying that Pell Grants aren’t enough, and that student loans aren’t enough, but they need parent loans too (preferably with no cap, almost no restrictions, and no accountability). That’s not college access, that’s institutional greed. Parent PLUS loans don’t really make an institution more affordable for a family. The price set by the institution, board, or state is what makes it more affordable. Institutional overreliance on PLUS loans must end. We need better solutions for students and families.

[Cross-posted at Ed Central]

Rachel Fishman is a policy analyst for the New America Foundation Education Policy Program.

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