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Obama Wants to Give You Two Years of Community College On the House

The President annnounced his new proposal to help students pay for college.

The tab on our national student loan debt runs at $1.2 trillion. It’s hard to even conceptualize how much money that is. But if anything symbolizes how irreparably broken our educational system is, it’s that amount: $1.2 trillion. U.S. leaders will be dealing with this problem for at least a couple generations but President Obama has just announced a proposal that might be the first step towards a solution: making the first two years of community college free. President Obama made the announcement via a video posted to his Facebook page on Thursday.

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How to Find the Best (or Worst) Deals for College

A new site, the College Affordability and Transparency Center, gives users clear data about the true cost of higher education.

Forget the venerated U.S. News & World Report college rankings. The list that cash-strapped prospective students and their parents will really be paying attention to this fall comes from the government. On Thursday the U.S. Department of Education unveiled the College Affordability and Transparency Center, a new website designed to provide clear data about the true cost of college.

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Community College Students Need Federal Loans, Too

Over one million community college students in 31 states can't borrow federal student loans. What gives with this unequal practice?


With the rising cost of college, paying tuition bills is a challenge for everybody these days. But students attending two-year community colleges have a much tougher time footing the bill than many of their peers attending four-year schools. According to the latest report from the Project on Student Debt, over one million students in 31 states attend community colleges that deny them the chance to borrow from federal student loan programs. This inequality forces community college students to pay for school via riskier and more expensive options, like private student loans and credit cards.

Federal loans are preferable to private loans because of their fixed interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and consumer protections. Community colleges are less expensive than four year schools, but cash strapped students unable to borrow part of the cost of tuition, books, and supplies often end up working longer hours, taking fewer classes, or dropping out of school entirely. Campus financial aid administrators justify their decision to opt out of offering federal loans by saying the predominantly low-income students of color attending community colleges—black and Native American students are most affected—might be prone to default.

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