Debt-Free College: Principles for Prioritizing Low-Income Students

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Center for Law and Social Policy - CLASP


Since the recession of 2008, skyrocketing college costs and state disinvestment in postsecondary education have forced millions of students to take on significant student loan debt. This $1.5 trillion of debt has made it more difficult for student borrowers to pursue additional schooling, purchase a home, start a family, or save for retirement—leading to greater wealth inequality, particularly in communities of color. This report identifies key principles and recommendations for federal and state policymakers to ensure that low-income students, students of color, and undocumented immigrant students can access and complete a postsecondary credential without incurring debt. These principles are based on CLASP’s expertise and policy research focused on today’s low-income students—youth and adults who face enormous challenges in accessing affordable postsecondary pathways that support their success in school and beyond.



access to postsecondary, students of color, low-income students, undocumented students, student debt