Panel to address rising cost of college

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Both college tuition and the necessity of a college degree in the job market are on the rise. Grants and scholarships often ease the sticker shock, but navigating federal, state, university and external aid channels is difficult.

In turn, students take out loans and graduate with significant debt. Borrowers in the 2015 class of college graduates face an average of just over $35,000 in student loans. The class of 2016 is on track to top that.

Amanda Rutherford

Amanda Rutherford

An Indiana University panel on “The Rising Cost of Education” will consider why tuition is rising, who is to blame for the increase, where the money is going and what policy solutions are possible. The panel will take place from 5:30-7 p.m. April 21 in Woodburn Hall 009. The event is free and open to the public.

“Affordability is one of the most pressing challenges facing institutions of postsecondary education in the U.S. today,” said Amanda Rutherford, assistant professor of higher education policy in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Tuition at many colleges and universities outpaces inflation, and policymakers have begun considering a variety of measures to limit such growth.”

Panelists include Jacob Gross, professor of strategic planning in higher education at the University of Louisville; Matt Hawkins, COO and CFO at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Nick Hillman, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Phil Schuman, director of financial literacy at IU MoneySmarts.

“Rising costs are important because a college education shouldn’t be available only to those who can afford it,” Hillman said. “States play a central role in helping make college affordable and accessible for all students, especially those from working-class backgrounds.”

The panel brings together scholars and policy practitioners to discuss pragmatic possibilities and obstacles to creating effective state and federal policies.

“This event helps students to understand who sits at the table in state and national conversations about tuition and financial aid as well as what types of policies have or have not been effective in keeping college affordable,” Rutherford said.

The panel is sponsored by the education policy minor, a joint program between SPEA and the School of Education, and the Education Policy Student Association.

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