Make Higher Education Affordable

Students are graduating from college with more debt than ever before. We’re working to change that.

Attending college in America is one of the largest expenses someone will ever have in their lifetime. Absurd textbook prices, decreasing student aid, scams targeting students and more add to this burden. This debt carries lifelong consequences for students, including impacting where they live, the kind of careers they pursue, when they start a family, if they can purchase a home, and whether they can save for retirement.

That’s why Maryland PIRG and our national network are working to ensure college is affordable in America and protect students from predatory companies.  

Costs are skyrocketing

It’s getting more expensive between increasing tuition, the cost of textbooks and other costs of living unique to a college campus. While college enrollment continues to grow, state and federal aid have failed to keep pace with these rising costs, shifting more costs to students. As a result, more students than ever must rely on student loans to pay for a college degree, with the average borrower now graduating with over $37,000 in loan debt. All told, student debt in America is now more than $1.5 trillion.

The combination of high student debt and low earnings can even lead to default, ruined credit and wage garnishment.

Student advocates from across the country take part in a lobby day in Washington, D.C.
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Protecting students, saving money

Together with our national network, Maryland PIRG is working to ensure students are protected throughout their college career from predatory business practices and lenders. We’re focused on three solutions:

1. Protect students’ financial well-being: From for-profit schools that take advantage of students to banks charging unnecessary fees, college campuses are the site of unique financial risks for young people. We're working to investigate these bad practices and hold bad actors accountable.

2. Increase grant aid to students, such as the Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is the federal government's cornerstone financial aid program, providing scholarship aid to almost 10 million students of modest income each year. We're making sure that every student can rely on their grant to stay in school and make it to graduation.

3. Make textbooks affordable: Textbook prices have risen four times faster than inflation, leaving the average student now budgeting more than $1,200 every year for materials. After working to end tricks the publishing industry used to increase prices unfairly, We're fixing the broken marketplace by promoting free, openly licensed textbooks.

Join the Campaign

We shouldn’t allow the cost of college education to burden people for the rest of their lives. Sign up now to find out how we can switch to free textbooks, ensure robust college aid, and protect students from scams on campus.