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The UCCS graduation at the Broadmoor World Arena on Friday, December 16, 2016. (Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette)
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Cost of college responds to availability of loans and grants, says Denver’s Millennial Policy Center

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The climbing cost of higher education is responding to the availability of loans and grants, according to a report out Monday from Denver’s Millennial Policy Center.

“Restoring Higher Education in America” looks at cost and reform for higher ed from a conservative point of view. Jimmy Sengenberger, the author of the report and the center’s 26-year-old president and CEO, said competition is the answer.

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“It’s essential that any substantial higher education reform measures directly address the main drivers of this $1.4 trillion college calamity by injecting real market forces – especially competition – throughout the system,” he said in a statement.

The center used May Day, the spring festival and the socialist International Workers’ Day, to provide its research and analysis on the cost of higher education.

“It’s that time of year again when graduating high school students, consumed by ‘senioritis’ are making that ever-intimidating, all-important decision on where they will go to college. And it’s a stark reminder of the skyrocketing cost of college in America today,” Jimmy said.

“In the last decade alone, the cost of college has skyrocketed 170 percent, the average new graduate is $37,000 in debt, and student loan debt now stands at $1.4 trillion. The trajectory we are on is both unsustainable and destructive, and strategic reforms are needed.”

The full report is available here.

It also calls for:

Dramatic Reforms to the Financial Aid System. A fundamentally broken system requires dramatic reforms. There are five key steps which, phased in over a period of no more than 2-3 years, will remedy the flaws inherent in the student financial aid system and lower costs.

First, the duplicitous nature of our various student loan programs – Perkins, Federal Direct (subsidized and unsubsidized), and the PLUS loans – is unnecessarily complex. Congress should instead consolidate these student loan programs into two programs, one for students and one focused on parents. Congress should also reinstitute the option of private servicing of loans, as opposed to having the Department of Education as the exclusive lender, and establish academic performance standards and time limits on loans.

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