Financing Basics

Build the foundation needed to navigate the community college financial aid system. Learn which schools are the most affordable, get money tips on reducing college costs, and explore the latest initiatives to make community colleges even more accessible.
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The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ("CCRAA" or the "Act") was enacted to make college more affordable for low- and moderate-income students by phasing in increases in government grants. For example, in 2007 the maximum Pell Grant was limited to $4,310, whereas the maximum for 2012 is $5,400. The Act also decreases interest rates on government-backed loans and even cancels outstanding debt in certain situations. The favorable terms for grants and loans represent an important step forward in achieving universal access to higher education. This report examines the problem of inadequate college assistance, the enactment of the Act, the major provisions affecting college student borrowers, and the funding of the new benefits.

Rising Cost of Higher Education Leads to Massive Student Loan Debt
 
Federal student aid has not kept pace with the escalating cost of higher education and the reduced state support of public colleges and universities. As a result, some students decide that a college education is out of their reach. Other students and their families borrow increasing amounts to pay tuition and other expenses. Students who graduate with unpaid loans are burdened with thousands of dollars of debt that they must usually begin repaying shortly after graduation. Studies show that about 39 percent of college graduates under the age of 35 say it will take them more than ten years to pay off their loans. For graduates with low- or moderate-paying jobs, the monthly principal and interest due may far exceed their ability to pay.
 
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Recent Articles
Students Stuck for Four Years to Earn an Associate?s Degree
Students Stuck for Four Years to Earn an Associate?s Degree
A recent report revealed that many California community college students take twice as long to get an associate’s degree as is normally required. While community college is less expensive than attending a four-year institution, students who drag out their degree programs lose much of that savings in additional tuition, fees, textbooks, and lost wages. In this article, we examine the reasons why some students take so long to graduate.
Undeserved Community College Accreditation: Abuse of Power?
Complaints about the current system of accrediting community colleges, combined with the quickly changing scope of community college education and how it’s delivered, may soon necessitate changes in the way that community college programs are accredited.
Competency-Based Education: Better for Your Academic Success?
In recent years, interest in competency-based education has risen drastically. It is a form of learning in which students engage in self-paced instruction and assessment of aptitudes rather than attending traditional courses and receiving traditional grades. Seen as the future of community college education by some, and as a cheapened version of a real education by others, competency-based education appears to be here to stay.
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FINANCING BASICS