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College Savings 101: Addressing the Gap Between Aspirations and Affordability

As college seniors prepare to graduate, they and their families are faced with higher tuition bills and student debt burdens, even in a fragile economy. In 2008, nearly 90% of low and middle income students who applied for federal aid graduated with average student loan debt of $25,000. Congress recently passed and President Obama signed legislation that overhauled student lending and increased federal Pell Grants. These are important steps, but more can be done to help families afford the rising cost of college, including facilitating college savings to help earn a diploma while accumulating less debt. New research indicates that college savings provides more than financial benefits alone. Evidence suggests that the mere existence of small saving accounts can have a positive impact on the behaviors and expectations of students and their parents. Targeted policies and incentives can help families save -- thereby permitting families with modest incomes to see college as a realistic and affordable possibility. http://www.newamerica.net/events/2010/college_savings_101_addressing_the_gap_between_aspirations_and_affordability
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