The report, In Smarter Spending: Reforming Federal Financial Aid for Higher Education, also claims to be able to reduce the federal budget deficit by $158 billion dollars over ten years. The report is published by the Center for College Affordability Project (CCAP), which is a non-partisan, non-profit research center based in Washington, DC.
“The Pell Grant program does a good job of promoting equality of opportunity, and should be continued. A new student loan program relying on private lenders and automatic conversion to income contingent loans would be a better approach to imperfect capital markets than our current loan programs.”
This comes as college costs continue to increase across the country, with student debt hitting the all-time high of $1 trillion USD.
Nationally, a full credit load has passed $8,000 per year, an all-time high, and year, total outstanding student loan debt passed $1 trillion, more than Americans owe in credit card debt.
“Our current approach of blanket subsidization of higher education should be replaced with subsidization targeted only when positive externalities are being generated,” says the Report.
Over a ten year period, the recommendations would result in “unchanged Pell grant spending, the reallocation of $276 billion from inefficient and ineffective tax expenditures to the new externality subsidy program, and a reduction in the federal budget deficit of $158 billion.”
“While in reality the government loses money on student lending, for budgetary purposes, it pretends to make a profit.”
The report criticizes the current system for providing larger subsidies to the surplus disciplines than to the shortage disciplines. The new system would alternatively reverse this and provide more aid to students in the shortage disciplines and less or none at all to those in the surplus disciplines.
“If a field has negative externalities [spillover effects] (lawyers may be an example), students should be taxed to discourage study in the field,” says the report.