At the end of November, members of the Columbia University-Barnard College chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) launched a tuition strike campaign against “exorbitant tuition rates” which, they say, “constitute a significant source of financial hardship” during the pandemic. Student demands are wide-ranging and include a 10% reduction in the cost of attendance, 10% increase in financial aid, and an amalgamation of demands from disparate student campaigns, many of which were set in motion long before the pandemic began.
Dozens of suburban Chicago families, perhaps many more, have been exploiting a legal loophole to win their children need-based college financial aid and scholarships they would not otherwise receive, court records and interviews show. Coming months after the national “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, this tactic also appears to involve families attempting to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive and expensive college admissions system. Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else — a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent.
Despite the soaring costs of attending American colleges and universities, their students are receiving an education that falls far short of the one experienced by earlier generations. The sharp increase in costs is clear enough. Between 1978 and 2013, American college tuition rose by 1,120 percent, and became the major source of revenue for higher education. Traditionally, most public colleges and universities had no tuition or very low tuition. But, faced with severe cutbacks in government funding from conservative state legislatures, these public schools adopted a tuition system or dramatically raised tuition.
As May gives way to June, the last college grad ceremonies are wrapping up and the last parties are coming to a close. Now the job hunt for recent grads begins in earnest — with the looming specter of student loan payments drawing ever closer. Today’s average student debt is around $37,000. But in America’s largest state, it wasn’t that long ago that any student could get a world-class, debt-free education — regardless of their economic background. That state was California, and Gail Leondar-Wright was one of those students. Gail came from a middle-class family — her dad was an engineer and her mom a stay-at-home parent. She attended UC Berkeley from 1976 to 1980, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theater. At the time, the elite public school was tuition-free and required a mere $600 per year in fees, or just under $1,400 in today’s dollars.
By Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Education - A majority of the country’s top public universities have grown less accessible for the most financially strapped students since 1999 -- and at the same time, they have grown more accessible for wealthy students. More than half of selective public institutions, 54 percent, have reduced the share of students they enroll from families with incomes in the lowest 40 percent of earners, while also increasing the share of students they enroll from families that are among the country’s top 20 percent of earners. Put differently, 217 out of 381 top public institutions enrolled a larger share of wealthy students even as they reduced their percentages of low-income students. That statistic is key to a provocative argument about dwindling access in a new report being released today by the left-leaning think tank New America. The think tank is releasing its findings as part of a reportanalyzing publicly available data from the Equality of Opportunity Project, a study of U.S. social mobility combining public information on higher education with deidentified tax records from students and their parents. The Equality of Opportunity Project received coverage early this year for showing that a handful of prestigious colleges enrolled more students from the top 1 percent of families sorted by income than they did from the bottom 60 percent. Other coverage of the project included the argument that college rankings incentivize institutions to favor wealthy students. New America has also published a series of blog postslooking at the data and what they show about higher education and mobility.
By Alan Collinge for The Hill - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan last week to provide for free tuition for people taking undergraduate courses at both the state universities (SUNY) and city universities (CUNY) in New York. He unveiled the proposal alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who hailed it as "revolutionary." Unfortunately, the plan isn't revolutionary. In fact, it isn't even good. The plan, dubbed the "Exelsior Scholarship" is similar to schemes proposed by both Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It creates a new pot of money for the colleges to draw from, and apply it to tuition charges. This in itself, would be a good thing for students if all else were equal, but the fact of the matter is that colleges are very good at using public funds such as this without passing the benefit on to students. They can, and certainly will, raise the prices of their other billable items to make up for any decrease in tuition charges.
By Alan Collinge for The Hill - Bernie Sanders unveiled his free-tuition plan this week. The plan, which would eliminate tuition charges for undergraduate students whose families earn less than $125,000 annually, looks much like the proposal from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and also like Hillary Clinton’s revised plan from 2015. Sanders’s plan would provide $47 billion to states to cover “tuition and fees” at public colleges with the requirement that states come up with the remaining $23 billion, thus making public college tuition-free. While Sanders’s plan certainly does dedicate far more money (per student) than Cuomo’s or Clinton’s plans would, it’s ultimately doomed to fail — just like Clinton’s plan and Cuomo’s plan.
From Press Room of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Green Party of NY, in a press release, responded to Cuomo’s tuition plan and called it inadequate, really a fraud by a false progressive: “The Green Party of New York called the Cuomo tuition-plan unveiled today wholly inadequate and said the reports of it making college free or affordable-for-all were false. The Greens pointed out that Cuomo’s plan does not cover the $14,000 in yearly room, board and fees and would still leave students with $55,000 worth of debt from SUNY/CUNY 4-year schools. Party officers also said that it does nothing to address three decades worth of funding cuts at state schools. The Green Party called on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to fully fund state schools and make college completely free, including tuition, room, board and fees so that students leave with no debt.
By Staff of Unicorn Riot - At a hot summer meeting on a mostly deserted campus, the “Differences Organized Coalition” of fifteen groups protested University of Minnesota Board of Regents’ proposed tuition hikes, as well as decreasing access for marginalized communities, numerous sports and research scandals, Dinkytown gentrification, and investments with abusive corporations. The “Do! Coalition” has several primary demands: to treat education like a public good; immediate free tuition for American Indian students; President Kaler’s immediate resignation...
By Staff of Million Student March - On November 12, the first #MillionStudentMarch took place on 115 campuses across the country. On April 13th, we’re doing it again, this time joining forces with Black Liberation Collective, the group behind the Mizzou Movement, to say “no” to racism and student debt! Students nationwide will be coming together to challenge the racism of Donald Trump and the corporate establishment.
By Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty for The Wire - New Delhi: It was about a month ago that Ramesh Srivastava, a clerk at a bank in New Delhi’s ITO area, first noticed “young people” sitting on a pavement leading to the University Grants Commission office with a banner saying “Occupy UGC.” In the following days, Srivastava stopped by to read the rest of the banners and graffiti put up around the pavement and the nearby Metro station and chatted with “some boys and girls there to understand why they are protesting” the decision to terminate financial support for thousands of post-graduate students across the country.
By Laura Hughes and Nicola Harley for The Telegraph - A student protest over tuition fees descended into violence on Wednesday just hours after the shadow chancellor told demonstrators that they had been "betrayed" by the government. John McDonnell addressed thousands of students in central London who were calling for the end of tuition fees and the return of maintenance grants. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, did not join the protests but had a message read out to demonstrators urging students to "keep campaigning for justice".
By Lawrence S. Wittner for HNN - The issue of making college tuition-free has recently come to the fore in American politics, largely because the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have each championed it. Sanders has called for free undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities, to be financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation, while Clinton has done the same, although with some qualifications and a different funding mechanism. The major argument for free public college and university education is the same as for free public education in general: like the free public elementary and high schools already existing in the United States, free public higher education provides educational opportunity for all.