Special Topics

Cohort Default Rate Resources

The Department of Education released new data which show 13.8 percent of student loan borrowers defaulted on their loans within three years of entering repayment, and our resource page on the federal student loan cohort default rate (CDR) and the new "three-year CDRs" provides background and useful links about cohort default rates for reporters, policymakers, and the general public. 

Community College Publications and Resources

The Institute's community college work seeks to maximize the effectiveness of financial aid and student services at two-year institutions, with a particular focus on the 2.5 million students at California's community colleges.

Net Price Calculator Publications and Resources  

Since October 29, 2011, almost all U.S. colleges and universities are required to have "net price calculators" on their websites. These online tools can make it much easier for prospective students and their families to look past often scary "sticker prices" and start figuring out which colleges they might be able to afford.

Pell Grant Publications and Resources

Federal Pell grants help more than nine million low- and moderate-income Americans attend and complete college and are the cornerstone of our nation's student aid system. The vast majority of Pell recipients have family incomes under $40,000, and they already have to borrow more than others to complete college.

Private Student Loan Publications and Resources

Private student loans are one of the riskiest ways to pay for college. They have much more in common with credit cards than they do with federal student loans. Private loans typically have variable interest rates that are higher for those who can least afford them - as high as 18% in 2008 - and they lack the important consumer protections and repayment options of federal loans. The Project on Student Debt is working to improve consumer protections for private loan borrowers and ensure that students and families have the information they need to make safe and smart borrowing decisions.

Featured Work


Should All Student Loan Payments Be Income-Driven?

This white paper analyzes the potential effects of requiring income-driven repayment for all federal loans as well as relying on paycheck withholding for loan payments, with particular attention to the implications for low-income students and families.


Student Debt and the Class of 2012

Seven in 10 college seniors (71%) who graduated last year had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. From 2008 to 2012, debt at graduation (federal and private loans combined) increased an average of six percent each year.

Cal Grants

Strengthening Cal Grants to Better Serve Today's Students

TICAS and more than a dozen other student, civil rights, business, and college access organizations have come together to release a new analysis of how Cal Grants could better serve low-income college students.


Aligning the Means and the Ends

This white paper calls for major changes to federal student aid, including Pell Grants, student loans, and tax benefits, with the goals of increasing college affordability and completion.

Adding It All Up 2012: Are College Net Price Calculators Easy to Find, Use, and Compare?

This report examines the state of net price calculators nearly a year after almost all U.S. colleges were required to post them on their websites. Our in-depth look at 50 randomly selected colleges' calculators found that many are difficult for prospective college students and their families to find, use, and compare.  

MLWMaking Loans Work: How Community Colleges Support Responsible Student Borrowing

Our report takes a closer look at how some forward-thinking community colleges in California are promoting responsible use of federal student loans - ideas that can be adopted by colleges across the country.



Poll: Young Adults Say Higher Education is More Important but Less Affordable

A national bi-partisan survey of adults ages 18-34 reveals that young adults today believe a college education is more important than it was for their parents' generation, that it has become less affordable in the last five years, and that students are leaving school with too much debt.

Critical Choices

Our report looks at promising and problematic practices of financial aid offices when students apply for private student loans.