As more 21st century jobs and careers require college degrees or certificates, it is more essential than ever that all Americans have access to higher education. A college degree—and the stepping stone that it provides to a well-paid career—is key to the American Dream, especially for students who grow up in poverty.
Going to college shouldn’t mean going into debt.
The problem today is higher education is more out of reach than ever. As states have cut funds to public colleges and universities, those institutions have raised tuition. Federal assistance programs, like Pell Grants, have not kept pace. This leaves students and families shouldering an enormous financial burden, as student debt reaches astronomical levels. In other words, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
Meanwhile, colleges also are cutting critical support services and relying more on low-paid, non-tenured contingent faculty—all of which makes it harder for students, especially first-generation students, to be successful in higher education.
Your union. Working hard for higher education.
NEA supports policies and practices, like free community college and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, to make high-quality higher education accessible and affordable to all. This includes a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the landmark federal law, which would increase federal assistance to public colleges and universities. Explore ways NEA is supporting student debt relief.
You can help.
Take opportunities to speak up for investment in public higher education. Learn more about the issues and reach out to your federal lawmakers to encourage them to invest in higher education.