higher education

student tuition bills

Bills in Brief

With rising tuitions increasingly putting the pinch on middle income families, Congress passed a handful of measures in '07 designed to ease the cost of sending little Joey to college. Below is snapshot of the bills the House and Senate considered with what was finally passed.

Round 1

Congress started off with HR 2669, sending the president a final bill in September '07. In it, maximum Pell grants were hiked to $5,400, graduates who entered civil service jobs for ten years got their loans forgiven, loan payments were capped at 15% of a grad's income and interest on federally backed loans was whittled down to 3.4% - all paid for by $12b in cuts to subsidies for private lenders. (WP & NYT)

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college tuition

Issue in Brief

What's up

During the past five years average public college tuition has increased by a whopping 35% (beating out the 11% achieved by private schools) (NYT). This increase has outpaced inflation and drawn the attention of lawmakers intent on addressing students’ ability to pay for college and higher education’s ability to rein in costs.

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higher education debt


No one doubts the value of a college education (see higher ed overview), but many wonder if costs are getting a bit out of control. College educated people do, on average, make more money and most of the time they are able to pay off their debts within 10 years. Moreover, many people receive money from the government that never has to be paid back. Still, a couple thousand dollars in debt seems no less terrifying to your average 18-25 year old. Below are some stats on college debt and how heavy you all are buried in it.

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higher education - tuition, grants & loans


As college applications increase (see higher ed overview) so do tuitions – and a college education, though desirable, remains unaffordable to many Americans. To help reduce the high costs of a college degree, the federal government offers large amounts of student aid in various forms. Here's a summary of what the federal government is doing to help students.


Average tuition and fees at a 4-year public university (05-06) CB:

  • $5,700

Average tuition and fees at a 4-year private university (05-06) CB:

  • $21,800


Factoring in financial aid, tuitions come down some. CB

  • Average tuition with aid (05-06) at:

    • Public 4-year colleges:

      • $2,500

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higher ed overview


Drawn either by the growing importance of a college degree or the 24/7 party lifestyle dramatized in such classics as Animal House or Old School, a growing number of students are attending higher-ed institutions.

College bound

Percentage of 25-29 year olds (2003)

who have completed a bachelor's degree or higher NCES (PDF):

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education overview


While K-12 public education is primarily the responsibility of the states, the federal government chips in over $90 billion in assistance a year (about 8% of all funding). Through that power of the purse, the federal government can shape educational policy by offering or withholding funding. Its strongest influence on K-12 general education is through President Bush's signature No Child Left Behind Act. The Act stresses standardized testing and requires that schools make progress toward getting all students on grade level. Where the federal government has had an even more direct role is in pre-K and higher education. The federal government funds pre-school for poor children through Head Start and offers a majority of the financial aid higher education students receive. Here is a general overview of education in America.

How many Students?

Students enrolled in pre-school: