In a little more than two decades, the United States has developed a debt-for-college-diploma system. States disinvested in higher education during economic downturns without restoring funding during times of economic expansion. Low- and middle-income households, at the same time, have experienced stagnant or declining income. Students increasingly use loans to fill the gap between what their parents can pay, decreasing grant aid and their earnings from part-time work. This Kresge-supported work from Dēmos, a nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization, follows up on an earlier Kresge-backed report from the group, The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class (2012). The new report chronicles how the Great Recession intensified previously reported trends of spending cuts, rising tuition and families being priced out higher education.
By Robert Hiltonsmith and Tamara Draut (2014). New York: Dēmos.
This report is one in a series. Others are: