On Monday, November 30, USSA President Gregory Cendana appeared on ABC Nightline discussing the rising cost of college. Citing economic benefits of college affordability, Cendana declared that post-secondary “education should be free.”
He argued that state divestment from higher education hinders our country’s long-term financial growth as heavily indebted graduates spend the majority of their income on loan repayments instead of contributing to the economy.
The other guest, a University of California, Berkeley professor, advocated for high-tuition/high financial aid funding. Cendana countered that such policies deter potential low-income students, the demographic that proponents of this model claim to be helping the most, from applying to college due to the “shock of the sticker price
of attendance.” Middle-income students who don’t qualify for need-based aid are hit with tuition and fee hikes with only more loans as an option to mitigate costs.
The show engages audience members by displaying viewers’ tweets on the topic at hand. Angus Johnston, a professor in New York City, supported Cendana’s argument by tweeting, “dividing students into ‘poor’ and ‘affluent’ [when considering a high-tuition/high aid policy] ignores the struggling majority in the middle.”
Cendana concluded by calling on Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) to take leadership roles in passing a Senate companion bill to the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (HR 3221). This legislation is critical for students dealing with massive increases in the cost of attendance.