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City Club of Cleveland - 2-21-2020 - Paying the Price - College Costs, Financial Aid, And The Betrayal Of The American Dream
Over the last few years, the future of higher education has dominated much of the public discourse. Increased costs, ballooning student loan debt, and lagging starting salaries for most graduates has caused many Americans to question both the feasibility of achieving of a college degree and the complicated financial aid structure behind it.

Once touted as the way to achieve a college degree, the mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid today leaves countless students without the resources they need to survive. Many students - especially first-generation students and those from lower income families - suffer from multiple need insecurity, including food and housing insecurity, while trying to obtain their degree.

Many programs and initiatives are underway to ensure students have the resources they need to succeed: support services for first-generation students, college loan forgiveness, certain "free" college programs, and locally here in Cleveland, Say Yes to Education.

But this still begs larger questions: Why has paying for college become such a problem? How is the current financial aid system broken, and what are some solutions?

Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D.
Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University; and Founding Director, Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

Sean M. Decatur, Ph.D.
President, Kenyon College

Dan Moulthrop
CEO, The City Club of Cleveland
February 21, 2020