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One of the more popular ideas in education policy in recent years has been a gentle nudge, rather than a direct push, for behavioral changes that promote better outcomes. In the case of college, efforts have focused largely on testing whether something as simple as small financial aid nudges can improve an array of education outcomes.

As ideas go, nudging ranks high in theory but (like many great ideas) low on demonstrated success. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, another large-scale study — some 800,000 students — found that nudging people with text messages to complete the government’s Free Application…


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American higher education is ramping up again for another semester though you’d hardly know it. For the overwhelming majority of students, “going back to school” has been no more exhausting than moving a laptop from the living room to the dining room.

One might think students and their families would welcome the room and board financial relief. Tuition and fees aren’t cheap, but living costs — everything from meal plans to residence halls or off-campus apartments — are the real budget busters. …


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It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has many American families struggling financially right now, from making mortgage or rent payments to covering car payments and credit cards. But this time we can’t blame student loans; in March, Congress moved quickly to freeze payments.

Most agree it was the right move at the right time. But it can’t last forever; there’s a $1.3-trillion portfolio that must be repaid. …


Part three in a 3-part series originally presented as a report written for the Manhattan Institute

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This is the third and final part in a series of ideas proposed in a report that I wrote for the Manhattan Institute last year around how small shifts in the way cost and pricing data gets conveyed to students and families can produce better enrollment and completion outcomes. (You can find Part 1 and Part 2 here)

In this piece, I propose that we can help students and families make better decisions around college affordability by taking current data around debt and earnings and just repackage it in ways that are more understandable given how they think about paying…


Part two in a 3-part series originally presented as a report written for the Manhattan Institute

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One of the biggest hurdles to completing a college degree in America today is simply figuring out how to pay for it. Last year I wrote a report for the Manhattan Institute around how small shifts alone in the way cost and pricing data gets conveyed to students and families can produce better enrollment and completion outcomes. I’m revisiting these ideas now, updating them, and posting them one at a time here on Medium.

Two weeks ago, I published the first piece on why students would benefit from institutions charging a one-time, all-in upfront fee for a degree, rather than…


Part one in a 3-part series originally presented as a report written for the Manhattan Institute

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One of the biggest hurdles to completing a college degree in America today is simply figuring out how to pay for it. Unlike other major investments people make in things like homes or cars — where you start by figuring out what you can afford and then back into what you eventually buy — getting a college degree means starting with a dream, getting in the door and really only then worrying about, or working through, how to pay for it.

This seemingly backwards approach creates what feels like a never-ending list of headaches for students and families that crop…


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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/16572095095

The political and economic worlds are still reeling from last week’s election results and frankly they should be. Donald Trump was a candidate remarkably few expected to win and as such most were wholly caught off-guard about what would happen next if he did. Higher education experts were no exception though they can be forgiven somewhat given how little and how vaguely the President-elect spent discussing it.

That the fiction’s become reality has pundits and the press scrambling to say something, anything really, that helps put what a Trump presidency means into perspective when it comes to a higher education…


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Source: http://www.readygrad.com.au/blog/2014/06/no-graduate-job-offer-now-what/

Millions of families struggle to find ways to pay for college today. To help, the federal government offers those covering the cost with student loans the option to enroll in one of several income-based repayment (IBR) plans that cap monthly payments and eventually forgive any outstanding balances.

For some these plans are seen as the best and last hope for keeping college affordable. For others their $20 billion-per-year price tag is not only prohibitively expensive to taxpayers but also end up helping those who need it the least.

Higher education isn’t the only market where consumers typically buy things by…


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SOURCE: HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/DONKEYHOTEY/24564574914

For months the Trump campaign promised a response to Hillary Clinton’s proposal to make college more affordable. That “plan” got released a couple weeks ago and as most pundits would agree it was overwhelmingly underwhelming.

His proposal? Basically just capping student loan payments at 12.5 percent of a borrower’s income and forgiving any outstanding balance after only 15 years.

That’s hardly inspiring and less a platform than it is a previously walked plank considering income-based repayment has been the cornerstone of President Obama’s higher education policy for eight years now. …


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SOURCE: HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/AFAGEN/6994942657

Both presidential candidates have made student loan repayment a priority and there’s growing frustration within Congress and the Department of Education over how many borrowers are either delinquent or in default on their student loans.

With repayment options more generous than ever, blame for the student loan crisis has increasingly been laid at the feet of federal and private loan servicers as well as private collection agencies (PCAs) — the folks in the unenviable position of trying to contact and persuade non-payers to get current on their obligation.

The self-appointed sheriff has been the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), whose…

Carlo Salerno

PhD. Education economist. VP of Research @CampusLogic. Title is theirs, opinions are mine.

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