Project on Student Debt: How TICAS Is Fighting for Students and Families
June 12, 2013

The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is an independent nonprofit aimed at making higher education available and affordable to everyone – no matter their background. TICAS does this through research, analysis and advocacy and also hopes to influence public policy toward these ends. One of their great endeavors is the Project on Student Debt.

The Project on Student Debt aims to give the public a wake up call on student loans. They recognize – as do we – that student loans help make education accessible to many people who could not otherwise afford an education. But over the past decades, borrowing has increased dramatically – most college students graduate with debt – and that debt now averages $27,000. In many cases, though, that debt is drastically higher and unmanageable. So what can we learn from the Project on Student Debt? Plenty. TICAS’ Project on Student Debt is not so much a resource that provides strategies for repayment or managing debt, but rather is aimed at those who want information on the overarching problem of student loans and may want to get involved in advocacy efforts to improve education affordability.

Information for Borrowers Financial Aid Pledges to Reduce Student Debt – For those considering college or those already matriculating, the Project has identified a list of colleges that have implemented financial aid policies that minimize or eliminate altogether the need for student loans. This is an impressive roster of schools that have pledged to help avoid student debt. Check this out to make a wiser school choice for your financial purposes. Fair and Manageable Loan Payments – This arm of the Project’s advocacy efforts has worked for the establishment of Income Based Repayments. You can check out their web page for a more in-depth look at IBR plans and how they function than what the government offers on the official student loan site.

Information for Advocates, Stakeholders and the Public Student Debt Policy Agenda – TICAS established this agenda to influence and encourage the simplification of FAFSA, introduce IBR and beef up Pell Grants. Check out their page on this effort to see all of the different aspects of policies they are focused on – the roster is impressive and may encourage you to get involved as well! Real Loan Forgiveness – This advocacy effort will become increasingly important over the next two decades, so it’s admirable that the Project is taking aim at such a long-term effort. Currently, you can have unpaid loan balances forgiven after 20-25 years but the balance that is excused becomes taxable. This means big tax bills for cash-strapped borrowers in the future!

If you’re interested in delving into the student loan crisis and want to explore what’s happening, check out the Project on Student Debt’s publications page where you can check out white papers, research, fact sheets and state by state data on student debt. We salute the important work that TICAS is doing through the Project on Student Debt and encourage you to check out their fine work. While you’re exploring student debt, why not explore your own? Try’s free student loan tool to view all of your student loan debt in one easy interface, check out repayment plans, the effects of consolidation, payoff dates and more! Also please enjoy these recent blogs of ours on student debt and advocacy: Is Pay as You Earn for You? Top Resources for Student Loan Borrowers Financial Experts Reveal Fallout from Student Loan Debt & How Borrowers Got in Too Deep 5 Must-Read Tips for Coping with Student Loans